Padlocked gas station to reopen in Gwynn Oak

New owner promises better security to combat drug
Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 18:04:01-04
These images back in January of a drug deal interrupted by police followed by a suspect turning over a gun to a clerk that hides it behind the counter served as the last straw for the BP gas station on North Forest Park Avenue.
Police shut it down six months later.
"When you have gun-toting drug dealers to take over a gas station as if it is their sovereign piece of property, it is our responsibility to take action," said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis at the time.
The city erected six-foot heavy metal fencing around the station and boarded up its pumps eliminating access to some of the most basic goods for residents here in Gwynn Oak like Gordon Streeter.
"...and they sold items you know toilet paper, toothpaste and cigarettes are missed mostly.  Everybody comes up here and wants cigarettes, but the store and the gas station we miss very much,” said Streeter, “It's all you hear people saying, 'When they going to open back up?'"
The property owner, Carroll Independent Fuel, says the business has now switched hands and the police have agreed to allow it to reopen after receiving assurances that it will beef up its security.
It also should help Malik Nad who is set to open up a food market next week in the neighboring shopping center.
"A lot of families will come here and a lot of neighborhood people will come here.  Nearby there is no gas station and no store,” said Nad, “So it will be a big help for the neighborhood too.
But after decades of drug dealing at that same corner, don't mind if residents here are leery that it's gone for good.
"We'll see what happens... see what happens," said Pernell Mason.
"You'll believe it when you see it?"
Even the promise of on-site security guards can't seem to erase those doubts.
"They did that once before, but the security companies weren't... didn't have the best employees,” said Streeter, “I'll put it to you like that."
At the time of its closure, that single gas station had been the site of 16 crimes in two years, including a pair of homicides... and that's just the crimes that were reported.