A notorious Auburn Road hangout was shut down by police Friday afternoon. Police blocked all entrances into the BP Amoco gas station at 3721 Auburn St. around 3:30, serving the manager with a restraining order prohibiting the business from operating for 10 days.
The gas station has been known as a gang hangout for years and police have asked its management to take more safety precautions in order to clean up the area. The station's response was to place a man outside at night armed with only a BB gun. Neighboring business owners say keeping the crowds away was often their responsibility.
"A lot of times, we'd have a lot of people leave their cars in here and they walk across the street to the gas station, so usually me or somebody else here, we have to call the police and just clear everything out," says Al Intravaia, part owner of Rosa's Restaurant.
This isn't the first time police have contacted the owner, Kooshtard Property. Police have asked them several times to take more safety precautions in order to curb gang and drug activity. While the station did act when police told them to, the safety measures weren't enough. Residents say it was about time the police stepped in and took action.
"I never got out of the car. It was more like, 'could you go in there and get me a Snapple?' But seriously, it wasn't safe at all because the more the gas station was crowded, the owner would ask some of them to leave and they would have attitudes, you know, you had fights over there, so it wasn't a safe place to be," said local resident Shantel Hodson.
Police have a list of people they do not want on the gas station's premises. The station will have to agree to keep those people off its priority, as well as agree to restricted hours of operation and putting forth a good faith effort to keep the area safe for customers before they will be allowed to reopen.