COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Columbus City Attorney’s Office shuttered a notorious carryout in the Linden neighborhood Tuesday.
According to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, long standing problems at A to Z Market, located at 1015 E. Hudson St, sparked an investigation by the Columbus Division of Police’s VICE unit.
“The amount of illegal activity occurring at this establishment was alarming,” Klein said. “We hope the surrounding community experiences some measure of relief after this property is boarded up.”
In the last two years alone, police and medics responded to the market a total of 15 times, including medic runs due to individuals suffering from alcohol-related illnesses, drug-related crimes, assaults and the sale of alcohol to underage individuals. The owner of the market, identified as Mohamed Al Damen, also allegedly threatened to shoot and kill a customer after an argument.
Klein’s office also cited numerous code violations, including potholes and buckling in the parking lot, trash and debris throughout the property, and bare and rotted wood on the outside of the building.
VICE officers also obtained evidence of multiple sales of the illegal narcotic K2 (synthetic marijuana) and drug paraphernalia inside the market.
“We had an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting the immediate board-up of this establishment,” Assistant city Attorney Katarina Karac said. “The amount of illegal activity occurring at the premises clearly made it a danger to patrons, employees, nearby residents, and the police officers who regularly responded to calls at the store.”
A follow-up hearing for preliminary and permanent injunctions against Al Damen is set for March 9. If the court decides the property is a public nuisance, the market will be shut down for up to one year and Al Damen will be permanently prohibited from “conducting, maintaining, using, occupying, or in any way permitting” a public nuisance anywhere else in Franklin County.