Baltimore Police 'padlock' Greenmount Avenue convenience store following drug seizures, shooting

Baltimore police padlocked the Purple Store Deli & Grocery/Greenmount Mini Market at 1909 Greenmount Ave.

The Baltimore Police Department forced a Greenmount Avenue convenience store to close on Monday, using a controversial city law for the second time in two years to "padlock" a business police deemed to be complicit in crime, officials said Wednesday.

The order followed at least three incidents in the past eight months at the Purple Store Deli & Grocery/Greenmount Mini Market at 1909 Greenmount Ave. on the city's east side, police said.


Police did not name the store's owner or operator in their announcement of the closure, and the property owner listed in state tax records could not be reached for comment.

"The Padlock Order is based on numerous incidents that have occurred at the location," police spokesman T.J. Smith said in a statement.


Officers had arrested the lessees of the building twice in that time and seized marijuana, scales, synthetic marijuana known as "spice," and drug money in two previous raids of the store, police said. The first took place on Feb. 17, and the second, on April 1, also recovered "numerous packages of drugs," police said.

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Police were called to a July 16 armed robbery report at the store and found that a shooting had happened during a "violent confrontation" between the lessees and others, "involving a handgun, machete, and a pole," they said. They did not say who was shot, or whether anyone was charged.

It's the second time Police Commissioner Kevin Davis has used the city's "public nuisance" statute, which allows the department to close a business for up to a year. Police had not issued such an order previously since 2009.

In the most recent padlock order in June 2016, Davis and then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake closed the BP gas station in the 2000 block of North Forest Park Avenue, which they said had been the site of pervasive illegal activity that had been condoned by management.

At that time, police showed videos in which a gas station clerk allegedly hid a gun for a man openly selling drugs out of the business when police arrived. They also cited violent crimes that had happened nearby, in the city's Franklintown neighborhood, not far from the Baltimore County line.

That gas station's management company, Forest Park BP, and its resident agent denied the allegations and claimed that the store was not complicit in local crime but rather a victim of it. The company challenged the order in Baltimore Circuit Court but eventually sold the store to new management, and police allowed it to reopen two months later.