Resident Reports unoccupied house becomes a Bike Graveyard.

I still feel that these mini bikes are a scourge on our neighborhoods. Nevertheless a reader sends in the following from the Petworth Listserv:

“A red and white Honda micro-motorcycle appeared in the back yard of the unoccupied house next to me around 9 pm last night. The bike was brought in a back gate and hidden behind the garage so that it cannot be seen from the alley.

This house has apparently become a stash point for someone. Bicycles appear here, are left for several days, and then suddenly disappear, only to be replaced by another, different bike several days later. This is the first time for a motorcycle.

I spoke with the cop in my PSA, who took a look at the bike, but he said that since no theft report was associated with the VIN for the bike, and it was on private (though unoccupied) property, he couldn’t do anything but leave it where it is.”

If I had a photo of this house it would certainly warrant a Horse’s Ass Award.

8 Comment

  • I posted that in the Petworth listserve.

    The house is owned by an absentee landlord in NC. It was occupied for several years by a man and his two kids. The dad was a hardcore alcoholic who bragged to neighbors that he didn’t have to work because the city paid all his bills as long as he lived with his kids. The daughter got pregnant at 15, and pregnant again within months of giving birth to the first baby. The son would bring all his friends over to the house, where they stayed up all night and hung out all day, skipping school.

    After the daughter’s second baby, she moved out, and I think the city must have discovered this and told the father they weren’t going to pay the rent on a 4 bedroom house for two people. They moved out in the middle of the night in January, much to the delight of the entire block. But immediately, the son’s friends began breaking into the house almost every day. I ran them off repeatedly until the police finally got someone to come board up the basements windows and door.

    Now the property is being used as a stash for stolen bikes that kids know they can’t take home because mom and dad would want to know where the bike came from. Several people have stopped me when I’m in my yard to ask if I know whether the house is for sale. I only wish the irresponsible landlord would sell the place before it is ruined beyond repair. It’s a big, well-built house that was destroyed inside by the last residents, and it’s only getting worse now, since most of the windows are open and the basement fills with water after every rain from the broken downspout that empties into the front basement window wells.

    Horse’s ass indeed.

  • do you know it it’s on the blighted property tax list? If not, working to put it on there might give an incentive for the owners to sell it…or for it to go into tax foreclosure. Maybe your councilmember could help you with the process.

    Reaching out to DCRA (I hear their twitter feed is a good way to do this) and the Mayor’s office might yield some other options.

    It stinks that you have to do these things and the city isn’t being proactive about them, but I hope you and other neighbors team up and push the government to stop this house from being a nuisance and a hazard.

    • I’m interested to see how this whole change to “blighted” designation works out. It seems to me that the burden for receiving the higher tax rate has shifted significantly in favor of negligent owners of abandoned property. Have you seen the current blighted list? There are only about 120 properties listed FOR THE ENTIRE CITY:

      Yeah, right. I’m hoping that this is just the first pass at a complete audit (sound like they wiped the slate clean of the abandoned property list and are starting over) but am skeptical to say the least. Neighbors fighting to require absentee landlords to tend to their properties face a bigger uphill battle.

      • ah

        My understanding is that in theory that is a complete list of properties that are blighted. I know that there’s at least one that was given some sort of exception (my neighbor) but it’s supposed to be relatively comprehensive, and not “just a start”. They started compiling the list some time ago.

        FWIW, they also have a list of vacant properties, but at this point it’s irrelevant other than a requirement to register the property as vacant and pay a small fee.

        • Well, exactly. They gutted the regulations of pretty much any incentive to fix up abandoned properties now.

  • I bet this is a bike ring … you should get some serious photos and I bet some bikes are stolen! I didn’t know my VIN and never reported my bike stolen and I know most people do the same thing.

  • drag all those bikes out into the alley, then call the cops. no longer on private property, so they’ll pick em up.

    I found a bike in our alley once, called the cops (even apologized for bothering them with something that small), and they picked it up, no problem, and thanked me for calling. It was a little girl’s bike and I thought she might like it back from whatever punk yanked it from her.

  • I need a new bike, what’s the address?

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