Police close Afro Dogs’ hangout — a condemned house
The building was being used as a party location despite multiple safety concerns.
DOG HOUSE CLOSED: The Afro Dogs Motorcycle Club had used this building at 725 Steel St. on the West Side as a social hangout. The building, however, is on the city’s demolition list. Police also found illegal utility use and a stolen motorcycle at the former bar.
YOUNGSTOWN — A motorcycle club has called a West Side building its new home, but police say it is unsuitable for habitation and have closed it.
Their attempts to shut down the home of The Afro Dogs Motorcycle Club at 725 Steel St. last week ended in arrests and citations being issued. Police also recovered a stolen vehicle and discovered illegal utility use.
According to police reports, officers received word of people partying and dancing on a lit-up dance floor in the building. Police say the building, however, is on the city’s demolition list.
Firefighters told police the building’s owner, Ondrea Shabazz, had been given time to make needed repairs, but he had failed to add fire extinguishers and obtain permits for various electrical and plumbing upgrades.
Officers went to the property Friday in an attempt to close the building. When they arrived, they were met by 40-year-old Lamont Walker of Youngstown, a worker for the motorcycle club president.
Walker attempted to show police work being done at the building, but before he could do so, police learned that he had driven to the building with six active driver’s license suspensions. He was issued a citation for the violations.
Shortly thereafter, Jason Hymes, 37, and Willy Smith IV, 36, both of Youngstown, arrived at the building to inquire about the police presence.
Hymes was found to be driving with three active driver’s license suspensions, and police arrested Smith on an outstanding warrant for a probation violation.
Inside the building, officers found open liquor bottles, a disco ball, a dance floor, Afro Dogs insignia on several walls, a stereo system, shot glasses and plastic cups at the bar, and a full working kitchen with food ready to be prepared.
There also were utility hookups to the building, but officers contacted the city water department and learned no water service had been issued to the building since 2006.
Water department personnel shut off what police referred to as an illegal water hookup.
Officers also found a 2002 Suzuki motorcycle inside the building with false plates. The motorcycle was determined to be stolen out of Parma Heights and towed to the police holding facility.
Police said the building was unsafe for habitation with boarded-up windows, missing steps, missing foundation pieces, tree limbs coming from the roof, a leaking hot-water tank, a collapsing dirt foundation in the basement, and holes in the floor large enough to see the lower level.