A Stevens Point hotel manager allegedly sabotaged his competition. Prosecutors accused the Baymont Inn and Suites manager of criminal property damage.
Stevens Point police arrested Dharmesh Patel, 28, on Wednesday. Stevens Point District Attorney Louis Molepske said Patel cut lines on ice machines, asked someone to plant bed bugs and planned other property damage at several hotels in the area.
Molepske said a Country Inn and Suites guest said they saw Patel and another person near the hotel's ice machines. The pair told this guest that they were plumbers, but authorities later learned that plumbers were not scheduled to be there.
"We found the ice machine copper lines had been cut, allowing water to flow freely into the structure of the hotel and into guest rooms, causing damage, drywall damage and structural damage going into the elevator shaft," said Molepske.
Molepske said a pipe cutter was found still attached to the copper lines that are consistent with tools that may be in the possession of the suspects and/or Patel.
The property damages are considered criminal, estimated at $5,000.
The suspect has also been accused of planning to damage two other hotels.
According to the search warrant, a Days Inn employee said that an unidentified homeless man told the former Days Inn owner that Patel paid him to be a guest at the Days Inn and plant bed bugs in the hotel.
Patel was "also trying to find someone to criminally damage the new hotel in Stevens Point in the downtown area," Molepske said.
That new downtown hotel is the Cobblestone Hotel and Suites. The other hotels are nearby.
The state is reviewing the charges. There will be a hearing and then an initial appearance in court.
Patel is out on bond and is ordered not to have contact with the hotels involved.