EVANSVILLE, Ind. — There is no Room 150 at Motel 41 anymore.
The looky-loos and crank callers got to be too much for the budget motel, which removed the number sign from the room where Alabama fugitives Casey White and Vicky White hid from the law.
But that's not stopping the motel on U.S. 41 from trying to make money off its notorious former guests. Motel 41 is charging more for Room 150 and will consider charging people to tour the room, said an employee identified by manager Paul Shah as his wife.
People are clamoring to rent Room 150, according to an unnamed clerk who told Alabama-based news portal AL.com by phone that there's a waiting list of 60 or more. Other national and international news organizations picked up on the story.
But there was only one car anywhere near ground-floor Room 150 in Motel 41's mostly empty parking lot late Monday morning. No one answered when the Courier & Press knocked on the door, and the room's curtain did not stir.
Casey White and Vicky White stayed in Room 150 at Motel 41
The Courier & Press reported last week that the local man who helped the Whites rent Room 150 is a homeless convicted sex offender who did it for $100. Motel manager Shah had insisted the Whites were visiting a local resident, but Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said the man told detectives he was never in the room.
At Motel 41 Monday, Shah's wife would not say how many people are waiting to rent Room 150.
"Let me tell you something: People write all kinds of things," the woman said from behind the front desk. "People have wrote a lot of fake things, and a lot of it is not even true."
The woman said Shah was in Indianapolis. But seconds later, Shah stepped into the front desk area from a back room. He said he had just arrived back home from Indy. He would not comment further.
The usual rate for rooms at Motel 41 is $63 a night — but Room 150 goes for $75, Shah's wife said.
"Because of the demand," she said. "Supply and demand."
Later Monday, an unnamed Motel 41 employee told NBC News the price is now between $75 and $100.
Asked whether Motel 41 had considered charging people for tours of Room 150, Shah's wife told the Courier & Press it had not.
"But I can," she said. "That could be an option."
Room 150's number sign didn't come off because Motel 41 wants people to forget the Whites were ever there.
The motel was afraid someone would steal it, Shah's wife said.
It wouldn't be the first crime committed at Room 150. Casey White was an escaped Alabama inmate when he hid out in the room with Vicky White, a former corrections officer who aided in his escape. The pair were the subjects of a nationwide manhunt.
Police: Shawn Eugene Gardner helped fugitives rent room at Motel 41
Wedding said last week the Whites needed the help of local homeless man Shawn Eugene Gardner to rent the room. Being an escaped convict on the run, Casey White didn't have an ID. Vicky White's name and photo was being published all over the nation.
The Whites met Gardner, a convicted sex offender, as he was leaving a motel on Fares Avenue on May 3, Wedding said. Gardner told investigators he didn't recognize the fugitive couple. Gardner had to show a driver's license to rent Room 150 for the Whites, which Wedding said he did in exchange for $100 cash.
Casey White and Vicky White were captured in Evansville on May 9. They had disappeared from the Lauderdale County jail in Alabama, triggering an 11-day, multistate manhunt.
Casey White is a convicted felon serving time for attempted murder and kidnapping. Vicky White died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a brief car chase that began shortly after the couple stepped out of Room 150 while under surveillance.
Back at Motel 41 on Monday, manager Shah's wife said the notoriety from the Whites' nearly week-long stay there has been a double-edged sword. There may or may not be a lengthy list of people who want to pay extra to rent Room 150 — she wouldn't say. She did say the local motel has also gotten unwelcome calls from people saying "just random stuff."
"It's, like, hurting me in a good way and a bad way," she said.
Thomas B. Langhorne can be reached by email at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Motel 41 in Evansville wants to profit from room where fugitives stayed