For the second time in two years, the Baltimore Police Department has forcibly shut down a convenience store due to concerns about crime.
The department announced today that the Purple Store Deli and Grocery, located at 1909 Greenmount Avenue just north of the neighborhood’s historic cemetery, has now been padlocked after several busts earlier this year. Commissioner Kevin Davis ordered the business to be shuttered on Monday.
In the first incident in February, police say they found weed, synthetic weed (known as “spice”), scales and cash from drug sales. Six weeks later, officers showed up again and, after allegedly finding more of the same contraband, arrested two people on the store’s lease.
Then in July, police say they responded to the Barclay mini-mart for a report of an armed robbery. They learned a shooting had occurred, and at some point the lessees had gotten into an altercation with multiple people. The fight evidently involved a handgun, a machete and a pole.
Crime photographer Maggie Ybarra was on the scene right after the July incident, and captured some shouting outside the store.
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Until last year, the police department hadn’t used its power to padlock businesses since 2009. That changed in June 2016, when Davis ordered the shuttering of a BP gas station on Windsor Mill Road and N. Forest Park Avenue. That store was similarly tied to crime, officials said; then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and police said the operators had condoned “pervasive illegal activity” right outside, including drug-dealing and violence spreading into the neighborhood.
The BP reopened this summer under new management. WJZ reported that Mayor Catherine Pugh promised the city would use the power again, if need be: “If you don’t do the right thing, we’ll do what we did here. We will padlock the doors until somebody understands that our community deserves respect.”
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