"Nuisance" Property Shut Down - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

"Nuisance" Property Shut Down

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WEST REHOBOTH, Del. - The Delaware Attorney General's Office took action Tuesday, which prosecutors hope will deliver a devastating blow against drug-dealing in a West Rehoboth neighborhood. The AG's Office said one home was a hot-spot for drug-dealing has been shut down through the "Criminal Nuisance Abatement Law." 

Many neighbors in West Rehoboth said that they were happy to see this happen, but some emotional family members of the evicted resident said the action is ineffective and unfair.

The resident named Evelyn Coleman lived at 136 Norwood Street in West Rehoboth. Tuesday afternoon more than a dozen state troopers as well as various people from the Attorney General's office came to the location, in order to board up the windows and shut the home down. 

The state was given permission to shut down the location, after a decision was made by a judge in Sussex County. The Criminal Nuisance Abatement Law allows for the state to shutdown a home through legal action, when a homeowner allows for illegal activity like drug dealing to take place over a long period of time on their property.

"People from all over the area would congregate like a magnet to this area because they knew it was a safe haven for drug activity," said Daniel Logan from the Crime Strategies Unit. 

Logan said that the majority of the neighbors would benefit greatly from the removal of this home. 

"When it gets so bad that every other neighbor in the immediate vicinity suffers because of the actions of one property," he said. "Then action needs to be taken to shut that property down. And that's what the court did." 

While many neighbors were happy about the action, some like Coleman's brother Martin Burton said that it was unfair. He said the home has been in the family for generations, and he said there was nothing her sister could have done to remove the dealers. 

"Maybe you catch one of the drug dealers down there making a sale to someone," he said. "It makes it look bad on my sister. My sister couldn't keep up with everything." 

Next to the shutdown property is a home, moved from Dewey Beach by Habitat for Humanity. Executive Director Kevin Gilmore said that nobody would buy the house because of the alleged drug-dealing next door. 

"We found that folks were reluctant to apply for that house," he said. "Just because of the issues around the house." 

On top of shutting down the residence, and boarding up the windows, the state also mandated that Coleman stay at least two miles away from the home at all times. There is no word yet on what happens next with the property, although any purchase of the home will have to go through state litigation first.

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