Neighbors, community members react to registered sex offender looking to open business
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A registered sex offender wants to open up shop two blocks away from a school, and right next door to a toy store.
He says he wants to help the community, but some neighbors say no way!
Newschannel 3 talked one-on-one with that business owner about the dilemma in downtown Battle Creek.
Reece Adkins's new store is a food auction. It's just a block away from Battle Creek Central High School, but it's right next door to a toy store.
Adkins, 41, says he's not breaking any laws, but neighbors here say it's just not right.
"God has forgiven me for what I've done. I've been out in this community for four years," he said.
That's after Adkins served 14 years in a state lock-up for committing second degree criminal sexual conduct to a person under 13.
"I've proved to myself that I'm not out here trying to commit crimes. This is a good positive standpoint for the community," he said.
But not everyone in the community, like Robert Seales, sees it Adkins's way.
"I think it's disgusting. I don't think a sex offender should be downtown where the kids are," he said.
But the law says nothing about a toy store. It does say Adkins can't be within 1,000 feet of a school.
"I've checked with the police department," he said.
Just to double check and be sure, we wanted to see how far the distance is to the closest school. So we decided to track our steps on a GPS tracker on our phone to Battle Creek Central High School, and according to this tracker, we are about a quarter of a mile away from the store--which means Reece Adkins is well within his rights to open up shop.
"I'm out here trying to succeed, make something of myself, and prove that I can be a productive citizen," he said.
Just hours after we started asking questions, the owner of the toy store weighed in.
In an e-mail, the owner says they were unaware Adkins is a sex offender.
They also say the landlord will be canceling Adkins' lease.
"Just because somebody has done something wrong doesn't mean that they can't succeed. That they can't improve, correct from their mistakes, and push forward," Adkins said.
Now, it seems Adkins will not be pushing forward. That email says the lease is canceled, and the closed sign will be up for good.
We also checked with Battle Creek Police who said they're working to find out if any laws were broken.