City seizes gas station

Gas is no longer being pumped at a local gas station.

The City of Rockford seized the BPAmoco station at 3721 Auburn St. An April 16 shooting as well as alleged ongoing gang and drug activity and disturbances in the parking lot prompted the action.

Ald. Ann Thompson (D-7) took the lead in dealing with the situation. Thompson said the establishment will be closed for 10 days, while city and police department officials as well as owners work to come up with a compromise.

“It’s gotten to the point that the owners have to take the responsibility to make sure it’s not a gathering place in the evening,” Thompson said.

According to Thompson, she was unaware any drug activity had taken place. She said constituent complaints about crowding prompted her to get involved.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” Thompson said.

According to a city legal department press release, the business will be required to enter into a nuisance abatement agreement. Thompson said adjusting its hours and adding security are two things it must do. If negotiations fail, the city will proceed with legal action to seize the property for a year, according to the press release. City Attorney Jennifer Cacciapaglia confirmed the city would file an injunction, if the owner is uncooperative.

If an agreement is reached, she said, reopening the business would be a relatively simple process.

“It’s just matter of taking the padlocks off,” Caccipaglia said.

She spelled out the city’s interest in seizing the establishment.

“Our No. 1 concern is that the business is operating in a safe manner,” Cacciapaglia said.

She said the city aims to educate owner representative Nasswar Ali. The station is owned by a limited liability corporation, which is a Circle K Midwest subsidiary.

“Their apathy toward the situation must cease immediately,” Cacciapaglia said.

She said the business should close earlier, until incidents of violence decrease. Cacciapaglia also confirmed drug activity had occurred on the property. Although the city cited three drug-related incidents, Cacciapaglia said the city believes there were more.

She said police observed what they believed were drug sales, confirming that by following and searching suspicious vehicles. But Cacciapaglia said all sales had to be made on the property, per state statute, to be included in the complaint.

From the May 3-9, 2006, issue

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