City of Wilmington Joins Biden to Take Action to Shut Down Wilmington Gang House
Posted on 04/21/2014 1:42 pm
Criminal haven has been site of more than a dozen shootings, including 5 homicides since 2006; ’Violent criminal activity is ongoing and escalating’
Mayor Dennis P. Williams announced that the City of Wilmington has joined Attorney General Beau Biden and his office and filed a lawsuit to shut down a gang clubhouse and clean up a property on Wilmington’s East Side that has been the site of at least 15 shootings – including five homicides – in the past eight years.
Biden is targeting a property on the 2800 block of Northeast Boulevard that is home to a national clubhouse for the Thunderguards Motorcycle Club, a group that has been identified as a “national outlaw motorcycle gang” by the federal government’s National Gang Intelligence Center. In addition to the clubhouse, the suit is also targeting a parking lot adjacent to the clubhouse and nearby storage units that the gang uses for criminal activity, as well as a business adjacent to the parking lot that is owned by a gang member.
Using Delaware’s criminal nuisance abatement law, which allows Biden’s office to shut down drug houses and properties that are the site of multiple violent crimes, Biden is asking a judge to order the motorcycle gang to vacate its clubhouse and storage units, stay away from the parking lot, and bar gang members from the entire 2800 block of Northeast Boulevard where the properties sit.
“Shutting down and cleaning up crime-infested properties makes Delaware’s communities safer and stronger,” Attorney General Biden said. “Numerous violent crimes, including multiple homicides, have been committed at this site. Properties like this have shown that we cannot just arrest our way out of crime – we have to get at the root causes of crime, such as the properties that serve as havens for criminal gangs and drug dealers. We have successfully shut down and rehabilitated crime-infested properties all over the state and we will continue to use this powerful crime-fighting tool to help this Wilmington neighborhood fight back against crime.”
Mayor Williams’ administration brought the ongoing activity at the property to the attention of the Attorney General’s Office this winter and Biden’s office immediately conducted an investigation. As a result, on April 11 prosecutors filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the property’s owner seeking its closure because of the ongoing and violent criminal activity. In addition, Biden requested an emergency injunction ordering gang members to immediately vacate the properties while the lawsuit is litigated because of the ongoing and violent activity on-site. A hearing to hear arguments on the emergency petition has been set for May 11 in New Castle County Superior Court.
“Despite the many arrests and enforcement efforts, this property has plagued the community with continued violent criminal activity for years,” Mayor Williams said. “We can no longer allow the criminal actions of a few to jeopardize the safety and quality of life for the residents in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Williams. “This Nuisance Abatement Complaint represents the collaborative effort between the City’s Law Department and the Attorney General’s office, and reflects our strong commitment to ensuring the safety of all citizens and local communities.”
The State’s lawsuit lays out a litany of criminal acts that have occurred on the gang’s property and says that the property is a “material annoyance, inconvenience and discomfort to neighboring properties and persons. The Property is a haven for violent criminal activity, including at least five murders, numerous violent assaults, an armed robbery and at least 15 confirmed shootings since 2006. The violent activity is ongoing and escalating.” Of the 15 confirmed shootings, five have resulted in homicides and another nine of the shootings left victims with life-threatening injuries.
At the start of Biden’s first term as Attorney General in 2007, he launched a statewide initiative to rehabilitate drug houses and other crime-infested properties using Delaware’s Drug Nuisance & Social Vices Abatement Act, which he worked to expand in 2011 to include properties that have been the sites of violent crimes. The initiative has led to the shutdown and rehabilitation of more than a dozen properties and the training of more than 500 landlords on how to keep their rental properties from becoming havens for criminals.