November 3, 2012
Yesterday morning, as residents near 109 N. York St. were just getting out of bed, enjoying the quiet of the morning with a mug of hot coffee – BANG POP BANG - Flashes of light – sent their senses reeling. Was it gun shots?
Naturally, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when living in certain areas of Pottstown, but no, the Mercury reports:
“What residents were likely hearing were flash bangs which produce a loud “boom” and a flash of light, but are not lethal. Police confirmed the use of “diversion devices” while serving the search warrant.” Police Captain Drumheller, to his credit, reassured residents:
“Drumheller acknowledged the concerns some residents of York Street in the area of Burruss’s apartment had about the SWAT activity Thursday morning, but assured residents were safe.”
Residents appreciate acknowledgement, it’s rare. I’ve recently heard that Drumheller has a mannerism that people who work for him find encouraging and I’m certainly encouraged, at this point, that if he should become the Chief of Police we could anticipate a better interaction with the community and better comprehension of our concerns. And if it’s not asking for too much, we would appreciate a progressive approach to policing in Pottstown too.
We’re all thankful when the police ferret out dangerous criminals but the reality that they are lurking, unknown to us, until an early morning bust, isn’t comforting. I start looking around at the rentals on my block and wonder what’s really going on behind those doors and is my family in any danger just by walking down the street, past the rickety old rental houses?
By progressive I mean, at the very least… use the law, the tools that are already in the municipal ordinances to become pro-active on the front end. Don’t enable the criminals to find shelter in Pottstown. To do this requires a partnership between the codes enforcement officers, police officers and the judges.
The rental ordinance requires property owners to have a license and to submit a tenant list, the penalty for non-compliance can be as much as $1000. Slap a few of ‘em with a hefty fine and let the media in on it, it can have a domino effect when other investors see that you’re serious. And believe me the taxpayer/homeowners in Pottstown really NEED you to seriously look after our best interests.
If the owner has violated the ordinance, and it’s discovered that there is no license, no tenant list – one can safely assume that the property owner also did not do a background check before agreeing to rent the place and didn’t care who they rented to. But if they did a background check, and they knew there was a criminal history, and they still agreed to rent but never bothered to check up on their property or the tenants, either way…consider this behavior an accessory to the crime:
“A person charged with aiding and abetting or accessory is usually not present when the crime itself is committed, but he or she has knowledge of the crime before or after the fact, and may assist in its commission through advice, actions, or financial support.” Of course, laws vary between States but I would think that a savvy attorney could mold this to fit the cause.
Federal law makes it possible for law enforcement to seize the property that is used in the commission of a cirme too. A very controversial law, no doubt, especially in states like PA, that have strong property owner rights.
I really don’t “get it.” I can’t understand how or why enabling negligent rental property owners in Pottstown benefits anyone, including and especially local officials.
The other tool that is available to all residents is the law of Public Nuisance. This morning, I woke up with this thought:
The residents that live around 109 N. York St. really ought to consider pooling their resources to hire an attorney to sue the B.WATT outta this absentee rental owner who hides behind this LLC: Schuylkill Investments. A good attorney can “pierce the corporate veil” and find the principal (s). One clue might be their mailing address, listed on the MontCo Property Records, 502 Red Coat Lane, Phoenixville.
Send a loud, clear message to them, and every negligent rental owner in town, with a high profile lawsuit. Stand up for yourselves and let it be known that you’re not taking any more B.S. from negligent, absentee investors. We have the power, lets use it.
502 Red Coat Ln. is a very affluent address. The address is a $537,000 mansion with 5 bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms, and approximately 4,394 sqft of living space. A successful lawsuit could produce some very handsome rewards.
A reverse address search lists the names at that address: Kristen and Pamela Hull.