COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Trash dumping, vandalism, and harassment are just some of the issues a southeastern Columbus shopping center’s owner said they have been dealing with for years.
Chantry Square Shopping Center is a space that building owners have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to fix up.
Recent security footage shows two people breaking into an electrical box and cutting the copper wires.
“We were having issues with panhandling in the parking lot,” Ross Development spokesperson Paige Price said. “It started out innocently enough and then, slowly but surely throughout the time, it’s progressed.”
Ross Development owns the property.
In this instance, after the wires were cut, a fire started and a Columbus Police report shows that CFD came to put out the fire and AEP had to come to restore the power.
“It’s just become an ongoing issue that we’ve been dealing with, with more and more vandalism and theft and panhandling,” Price said.
All of this comes with a heavy price tag.
“Overall, it’s been $1 million in damage,” Price said.
However, the company said it doesn’t want to leave.
“We’ve invested basically $50 million in that area between the shopping center and our other investments in the area,” Price said. “We’re really hoping to, you know, redevelop that property, attract new tenants, attract new types of, you know, business there. And with the issues going on, it’s just kind of a challenge.”
People in the parking lot who didn’t want to go on camera said that the area behind the building has been more of an issue recently.
“It all started whenever the large number of homeless individuals moved into the wooded area behind the shopping center,” Price said. “They’re not directly on our property, so we kind of have our hands tied with what we can do.”
Ross Development is hoping for some help.
“From the police, from the city, from, you know, local businesses in the area, just if we could all partner together and work together, I feel like there’s a solution that could be had here,” Price said.
Others NBC4 spoke with said they know that those living behind the building have nowhere to go, but they just wish they would not be aggressive. One business has even hired a security officer for the parking lot.
Columbus Police said these cases are being handled by the Property Crimes Bureau.