Evansville, IN – The motel room where escaped convict Casey White and former Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White hid for 11 days after she helped him escape from an Alabama jail has become a vacation destination with a giant waitlist for reservations.
Motel 41 on U.S. 41 has had to remove the room number – previously “150” – from the door of the room where the notorious couple hid out, WAAY reported.
Management at Motel 41 replaced the room number with a detailed sign that read “Open To Public. Casey White Room 150 To Rent. $75 a Night. Motel 41. Evansville, IN.”
Pictures of the sign on the infamous door have gone viral and served as a marketing tool for the tiny Indiana motel, WAAY reported.
A motel clerk said they removed the number sign from the door after someone was caught trying to steal it.
The room rate when the Whites stayed at the motel was $63 per night.
However, Motel 41 is now renting the notorious room where the star-crossed lovers stayed while a nationwide manhunt for them was underway for $75-to-$100 per night, WAAY reported.
There is already a waitlist of at least 70 guests who want to stay in Room 150, according to a motel clerk.
The clerk told WAAY that the motel got at least 25 calls from people who wanted to book the notorious room on Sunday alone.
The motel clerk said guests are also requesting to stay in the room next door to the one where the Whites stayed.
Traffic in the area has increased dramatically since the escaped convict and the jail official who helped him escape led police on a chase that ended when a U.S. marshal rammed their car and flipped it into a ditch, WAAY reported.
Vicky White shot herself in the head before she could be captured and died in the hospital hours later.
Casey White was taken into custody and returned to prison in Alabama.
Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said that investigators had identified 51-year-old Shawn Eugene Gardner from the register at Motel 41 as the homeless sex offender who rented the room for the Whites, the Courier & Press reported.
Sheriff Wedding said Gardner met the Whites on May 3 when he was leaving a motel on Fares Avenue.
The sheriff said Gardner told investigators that he didn’t recognized the couple as the fugitive pair that was headlining the news, the Courier & Press reported.
Sheriff Wedding said Gardner had to show his driver’s license to book the hotel room.
Gardner told police he was paid $100 by the Whites for booking and pre-paying the room for 14 nights, the Courier & Press reported.
The sheriff said Gardner, who is a convicted sex offender, hadn’t been arrested for his role in helping the accused murderer and the former jail official who helped him escape from the Lauderdale County jail in Alabama because he hadn’t done anything illegal.
However, he was taken into custody on unrelated charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of a syringe, and being a habitual offender, according to the Courier & Press.
The fugitive couple needed Gardner’s help to rent Room 150 in Evansville after the jail official helped the convicted violent offender escape because Casey White didn’t have any identification and Vicky White’s name and picture had been shared nationwide.
The motel’s manager told authorities that the Whites had been visiting a local man who was registered at the hotel, the Courier & Press reported.
“[The Whites] were not officially registered guests here,” Motel 41 manager Paul Shah said. “Somebody else checked in and they were visiting those people.”
Sheriff Wedding said that Gardner has claimed that he never actually went into Room 150.
Authorities believe Casey White and Vicky White swapped the sheriff’s patrol vehicle that they left the jail in on April 29 for the Ford SUV at a shopping plaza located about eight minutes away before fleeing the area.
Vicky White was supposedly transporting the capital murder defendant to the courthouse for a hearing when they both disappeared, the sheriff’s office said in a press release on the afternoon of April 29.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton released a statement on Thursday that said Vicky White had been in contact with Casey White for two years while he was incarcerated in a state prison in Donaldson, WVTM reported.
Casey White was serving a sentence of 75 years for violent crime convictions.
Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly told ABC News that investigators had determined that Vicky White withdrew about $90,000 in cash from area banks prior to helping Casey White escape.
Vicky White had filed her retirement papers with the sheriff’s department a day before she disappeared with Casey White.
Court records showed she sold her house far below market value on April 18, NBC News reported.
Vicky White was initially charged with first-degree permitting or facilitating an escape.
On the day she died, Sheriff Singleton had just announced that the now-former jail official had also been charged with identity theft and second-degree forgery, according to Independent.