Cleveland gas station still riddled with crime months after losing liquor license

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – 19 Investigates uncovered a gas station is still struggling with violence even after a city council member took action to curb it.

We found police calls keep pouring in.

From a shooting and assaults, to a hit skip and stolen cars, we found many serious calls over the last several months to Gas USA on the corner of St. Clair Avenue and East 123rd Street in Cleveland.

19 Investigates obtained body cam videos of just one recent police call there from April.

A man armed with a gun reportedly assaulted a woman, and a child witnessed everything.

This gas station has been a problem for years, according to Councilmember Mike Polensek.

He said there have been at least two recent homicides and it’s just a five-minute drive from the 5th district police station.

The gas station is in his ward.

“We want aggressive action where they’re getting complaints, where their activities are leading to violence and mayhem,” Polensek said.

It was another win for Polensek Thursday when he found out the store’s liquor license will remain pulled.

Gas USA appealed after it wasn’t renewed back in February.

“But the message Sara, has got to be sent loud and clear. A liquor license is not an entitlement in the city of Cleveland. It’s a privilege,” Polensek said.

Police said from January through December 2020, officers were called to this Gas USA in Glenville 72 times.

That’s an average of six calls a month.

19 Investigates wanted to know whether crime has dropped since the store lost its liquor license.

We found on paper, it appears it has not.

There have been 24 police calls at Gas USA this year in the four months its liquor license was revoked, from late February to late June, according to police records.

Not all of the police calls were serious, but many of them were.

That puts the amount of police calls for service on par with 2020.

We brought these findings to Polensek, asking why the number of police calls seem just as bad as last year.

“Because the police are pounding it. Which I am happy to hear. And that was reinforced to me by the commander of the 5th district. That Mike, the calls are going to continue to be up there because we’re going after these places,” Polensek said.

So what is the solution to the problem?

The first step, Polensek said, was revoking the liquor license.

Second, they increased police presence.

Polensek said the city also needs to focus on building and health code enforcement at this gas station and other problem areas in his ward.

“The message is clear, respect our neighborhood, work with us, we’re not here to hurt people, to close businesses. But doggone it there comes a point when you say, enough’s enough,” he said.

We reached out to Gas USA’s manager and he said it’s not fair they lost their liquor license.

But he told us he does not plan to appeal again.

He also said it’s not his responsibility to police the neighborhood, they should hire more police.

The Cleveland Peacemaker’s Alliance is holding an event at Gas USA Saturday called Fueling Non-violence from 12 to 2 p.m.

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