Middletown business owner harassed by destructive trespassers

Posted at 12:58 AM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 00:58:13-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Uninvited guests have been pouring into the parking lot beside Jimco’s Riverside Pizza and Car Wash nearly every night this summer, according to owner Jim Zickgraf, and their late-night parties have been both irritating and destructive.

"I’ve been broken into, and my car wash has been vandalized numerous times," he said.

The problem dates back to at least March, according to police records obtained by WCPO. Middletown police have since responded to calls about vandalism, theft, the presence of suspicious individuals and public drunkenness -- all at the same address and all after business hours.

"There’s a lot of drinking and glass busting and all kinds of stuff going on up here," said James Shepherd, who lives nearby.

Zickgraf’s surveillance cameras have captured beer bottles being tossed, punches being thrown and, worst of all, nighttime revelers making off with his property. These celebrants once stole a picnic table from his business for one of their parties, forcing his staff to retrieve it the next day.

"I’ll close down, and an hour or so later, I’ll look on the camera and sure enough, they just pull in," he said. "And there’ll be 15 to 20 people out there."

He also believes the trespassers threw a rock through his window and broke his car wash machine, rendering it useless. He’s worried the problem will only grow worse over time.

"I’ve been broken into, and that’s what I’m worried about again," he said. "I’m a small business guy and I can’t afford these break-ins."

The parking lot is owned by the Miami Convservancy District and managed by Butler County Metroparks. The latter organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.