You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

After multiple shootings near Ypsilanti Township In & Out, neighbors express frustration

By Tom Perkins


Residents are concerned about criminal activity outside the Ypsilanti Township In & Out.

Tom Perkins | For

On Nov. 5, a man shot near an Ypsilanti Township In & Out and fled into the surrounding neighborhood to escape his attackers.

The assailants didn’t pursue the victim, but neighbors fear what nearly happened — a shootout in their neighborhood.

Now, those residents are upset with the party store, which is located at 1100 Share Ave. at the corner of North Harris Road near the I-94 Service Drive, and say problems caused by its clientele are spilling over into the Gault Village neighborhood and impacting their quality of life.

Steve Stencel, who heads the Gault Village Neighborhood Watch, said the store caters to people who are causing issues.

“It’s a intimidating scene for most of your families to go there,” he said. “They’re afraid to take their kids there to get an ice cream, so if they need a gallon of milk, then they go somewhere else.

“Very few people in the neighborhood patronize the store and I think the general feeling is it tends to draw people and problems to the edge of the neighborhood, and from time to time it will spill into the neighborhood.”

Arndola Charles Lewis, 39, of Ypsilanti Township was charged last week in the shooting, which was the second at the In & Out this year. Sheriff’s deputies have no suspects or victims in a January shooting caught on video at the store. According to a police summary, four people exited a vehicle, produced handguns and started shooting at another vehicle in the parking lot at 6:50 p.m.

By the time police arrived, everyone involved had fled, and no victims came forward.

Mike Radzik director of the township’s police services, said he has reviewed crimes that have occurred around the party store and didn’t find any “deep issues” outside of the two shootings. He also said it didn’t appear that the shootings were linked to anything that was happening inside the party store.

“This latest shooting does not appear to be related to the store; just happenstance where the combatants met,” he said.

In 2010, a problematic party store on MacArthur Boulevard in Ypsilanti Township was shut down after police were repeatedly called there and were fired at on one occasion.

Township and police officials also nearly had the liquor license of a Dairy Mart that sold to minors on five different occasions revoked, but the owner was able to evade revocation on a technicality.

And in Ypsilanti, a judge ordered Brandy’s Liquor Shoppe near downtown closed for a year after a similar incident to that at the In & Out. Residents mounted an intense campaign with city council to take action, and the store was eventually closed over multiple issues.

Radzik said township officials are meeting with In & Out's owners to discuss the issues and will be inspecting the property for any code violations. Beyond that, no action is planned.

While there isn’t a long log of serious problems like at other party stores, Stencel said neighbors witness regular loitering, occasional drug dealing and other minor issues. And the shooting has rattled residents.

“If it happens once a year outside your house, then it’s a really big deal,” he said.

He said many of the customers appear to be coming from the Village Grove Apartments across North Harris from the store.

The sheriff's department also recently made an arrest in a double shooting there, and another shooting was reported on Wednesday.

Stencel said he understands the Sheriff’s Department is stretched thin and can’t regularly monitor the store. He said the solution neighborhood residents would prefer to see is a store that caters to families instead of people buying alcohol.

“As citizens we’re handcuffed on what we can do besides reporting what we can,” he said. “We can just keep relaying our frustration that something needs to be done. We’re willing to be work with everyone. I guess we need a little leadership on what would be the best avenue.”


Tom Todd

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

Monica R-W great topic I agree with a lot of what your saying,what to do if some of the element is already living in some of the subdivisions in the community creating some disturbances and when the police are called maybe they show up maybe they don't.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

After looking over all these comments? Do what West Willow did. Get the sheriff involved and get cameras on your street corners. We are.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

Thank you Monica R-W for an insightful and idea filled commentary. I love my hometown too and as long as there are residents like us we still have the power to re-invent ourselves.

Monica R-W

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:20 a.m.

Thank you and I'm glad to have many residents that understand by using a collaborative effort to re-invent our community, we can work to enact real change on the localized level.

Life in Ypsi

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

I would like to see another millage for extra police. Pretty scary to be the victim of a crime and response time is slow due to not enough deputies. They are valuable and we need more of them in our community.

Life in Ypsi

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

The store is not the problem. The problem is Village Grove and the run down rentals filled with criminals in the neighborhood behind it.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

More police or shutting down the store won't do anything. Every community has its good and bad elements. It's what that community tolerates is what makes a difference. I'm really glad to see that the community is talking a stand against this. However, I wonder if it is too little, too late. An entire generation believes in entitlement and is completely desensitized to violence. How do you fix that?

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

It CAN be fixed Davidian. The campaign has to be focused and involve community, Government and Law Enforcement resources working together to fix the situation. Also, your correct...the old guard attitude does have to change. Giving up will only add to the problem of the element. Communities must fight against it before it takes over the entire community as a whole.

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

I understand the issues that the folks near and in Gault Village are facing. The In and Out store has been a issue for awhile. Still, the issue is not the In and Out store alone. This is what I see with some of the element that are trending to "hang-out" in and out of stores in Ypsilanti Township. They target specific stores. For incidence, when the "heat" was placed on the former Dairy Mart on Grove Road, they moved to In and Out. The element is also moving to old "Oklahoma" store on Harris Road. I know the owner of this location and they are the nicest individuals. I believe the only reason incidents like the "In and Out" shooting has not occurred to the "Oklahoma" store yet, is because they don't sell liquor. Now, there are other stores the element is moving into, in Ypsilanti Township. For instance, the re-build location on Ecorse Road, near Subway seem to be their next new target. This store does sell liquor and if the "heat" is placed on In and Out, they "the element" will move there. The point of the detail is that as Detroit falls apart, more of "the element" will move into Ypsilanti Township, bringing their behaviors from the city into this community, by doing what they did on a regular basis in Detroit. Targeting the next store to conduct drug sells and illegal activities. Some store owners were fine with this behavior until they lost their stores i.e.-Brandy's in Ypsilanti. Others are unsure how to totally control it and, some are cashing in from the sales...regardless of the end result. In the end, who's going to be impacted is the residents of Ypsilanti Township, whom should not expect their local store to be the next target of "the criminal element". Its time for strategic solutions to deal with this problem that will involve store owners, Washtenaw County Sheriff Office, Ypsilanti Township Governmental body, Neighborhood Watch Groups & their Leaders. Shutting dow

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

We are in transition. General Motors is gone and never coming back. This community for decades was known as a Automobile hub with partial land-space for a Cargo hub airport. To brand Ypsilanti Township as a 21st Century community, we have to re-invent ourselves. We have to aggressively pursue moving the criminal element out of Ypsilanti Township and open our land space to local or community based small businesses. To do that effectively, we have to be a community that small business WANT and DESIRE to move into. We have more land space (per capita) than Canton -which is either 6 or 7 square miles. We have two high traffic coordinators of Michigan Avenue and Washtenaw Avenue. We have the growing area for development on Whittaker Road and a high traffic freeway exit near hotel Marriott. Once we every figure out what's going to happen with the old G.M. Powertrain land...we have valuable land-space there, regardless if that area is re-purposed with a smaller manufacturing plant or expanded for airport hub space. We need to make plans -lots of them- to use effectively use space NOW, rebrand other space, re-invent our community branding (we are not G.M. anymore), fight "the element" and BE the area that many families have grew up within and LOVED. We can do this Ypsilanti Township. It's not just about West Willow, Gault Village, Sugarbrook, Green Farms, the neighborhood by the Washtenaw Community College Golf course, Ellsworth Road and other mini-communities areas....its' about ALL Ypsilanti area that ALL of us LOVE. Monica RW

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Shutting down local store after local store is not going to fix "the element" from targeting retail stores in Ypsilanti Township or the city of Ypsilanti. They will just move their illegal activities more into our neighborhoods streets and near our homes....which is another problem within itself. To save Ypsilanti Township -an area I truly love- a total strategic solution is going to have to be draft that everyone that LOVES this historical community will work together to make the Twp. a uncomfortable place to be for "the element". It will have to be a combination of aggressive law enforcement tactics, residents and community members working together -AS A COMMUNITY- to report what being seen, who or what is doing the criminal behavior and Ypsilanti Township Government re-branding of this Township as a 21st century community. Let me explain what I mean here:


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

Liquor and Lotto stores, I try to avoid. Although yesterday I stopped at the quick-pick on Textile Rd. (it sure isn't the store it used to be) It was about 2:30 p.m. Never again, I was fearful inside and out. I didn't like the looks of the 2 guys coming from around the back side of the building as I was getting in my car. I un-locked my car, got in and locked it as I shut my door. Three people ahead of me walked out with a bottle/bottles and opened them before starting their autos. We do need more Police in many townships, but who is going tp pay for them, when they are under-paid already. (and put their own lives on the line everyday 24/7. When is Public Safety ever going to be a # 1 priority??

Tony Dearing

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

djacks, your comment made a number of good, valid points, but our guidelines do not allow the use of profanity or abbreviations that represent profanity. If you were to post the same comment without violating our guidelines in that way, that would be fine.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Really!? I made a comment defending Quick Pick since I lived pretty much across the street from the place and have yet to here of any incidents, and you delete my comment to leave RJA's slander uncontested? Wow...just wow!

Red Floyd

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

Most of these comments are calling for "more police." I can only assume that everyone in this discussion who is calling for more police aren't also the same folks who vote against millages to fund the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department. Ypsilanti Police only patrol Ypsi City. The only police force the township has is WCS. Yet back in November 2009, Ypsi township residents voted AGAINST a millage that would increase taxes by only $200/year for a house with a taxable value of $100,000. Well, nearly every house in the neighborhoods surrounding this party store has a taxable value around $40,000. That means that the millage in Nov. 2009 would've only raised taxes $6/month for folks in this neighborhood to continue funding the WCS at the current level. But so many people want less government in their lives. Less taxes. Less regulation. Yet many fail to consider the unintended consequences that comes from less, less, less. People don't properly educate themselves on what exactly millages and proposals cover, and what exactly they cost. Many people just take someone else's word for it, and vote accordingly. I'm sure everyone in the area of this party store who is sick and tired of the loitering and lawnessness, drug dealing and gun violence, would gladly pay an extra $6/month now for increased police protection. But I wonder how many voted against that millage, or simply failed to vote at all? And as a member of my Neighborhood Watch program, I can attest that MOST people don't want to be bothered with participating in their Neighborhood Watch program. Everybody wants everyone else to work to keep the community nice, but they don't want to spend any of their own time or energy to do so. Neighborhood Watch programs can make a big impact. I encourage everyone to get involved. One meeting per month, for about an hour. That's it!


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

I voted for the mileage and I voted to keep our sheriff.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

I also agree with the first post of pest, I think it would make more sense in "shutting down" Village Grove Apts.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

As a regular attendee of the Gault Village Neighborhood Watch meetings, I'll throw in the relevant plug: Next meeting is scheduled for the 28th at 7pm in the basement meeting room of the St. Matthew's Church, 1344 Borgstrom Avenue.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

The easiest part of the solution is for the State to continue to make Michigan less and less comfortable for thugs, criminals and do nothing drop outs to continue living off the welfare system (tax payers working every day). The part of their strategy that has not been addressed is the leveraging babies as a work around for the welfare cap. Young men in excellent physical condition with little education and zero desire to work for a living, know that if they make enough baby-mommas, they never have to work in Michigan again.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 10:37 p.m.

Democratic policies in action in creating a welfare state.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

I knew people who lived in what was then called "Lake in the Woods" in the mid 90's when the complex was thriving. It was popular with single professionals, pilots and college grad students and there were so many boats and Jet Skis on the point that it was difficult to find a spot. The complex held parties every month at one of two pools and quickly evicted residents who caused trouble or trashed their apartments. The story of it's decline is as sad as it is irreversible as government backed mortgages made apartment living foolish for the employed and the prefect storm of new Lake in the Woods ownership and municipal hardball by the city of Ypsilanti (over property taxes) came together to make the huge development what it is today. Needless to say, the problem is not this little party store any more then local gas stations don't rob themselves. The problem is a Detroit style systemic decline that goes back to generations of failed democrat policies that killed the nuclear family, respect for education and the personal discipline that went with it.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

In hindsight, maybe I should've said "...nicer apartment communities for students/singles/young couples in the Ypsi area..."


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

@obviouscomment If I recall correctly, they completely redid the kitchen (and possibly bathroom) along with the standard repainting et al prior to an in-law of mine moving into her place a year or so ago. Sounded like a process which is moving slowly but surely, if you're still seeing relatively low quality units.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Lakeshore has some nice perks but I'd be interested to know what recent remodeling efforts they've made because last time I checked, within the last year, the apartments were terrible. They maybe qualify for the lowest level on the list of the nicest apartment communities in Ypsilanti.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Also: I've gathered that some of the more recent "troubled" apartment communities -- Village Grove, Bryn Mawr (ref. oddball threatening/assault of a desk clerk last year written about elsewhere on site), et cetera -- ended up with a lot of the tenants who relocated from "Lake in the Hood" circa renaming and launch of renovations.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

The former Lake in the Woods is now called the Lakeshore Apartments. They're probably best known for hosting Ypsilanti's annual fourth of July fair and fireworks. From what I understand they're one of the nicer apartment communities in the Ypsi area, primarily due to relatively recent remodeling efforts. Lakeshore is located in the township and not the city.

no flamers!

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

I agree with the poster who noted that the store's problems apparently come from across the street--having driven past this location on many hundreds of occasions, there is a steady stream of foot traffic from the apartments to the store and it appears to me that the store is a meeting place rather than a typical retail establishment. My worry is that it 5 years it will be like Liberty Square, so let's act now to arrest the blight and drive out the criminals. Stringent code enforcement for the store and the apartments is a first step. Strict enforcement of all ordinances and laws for Village Grove is an option.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

I lived in Gault Village in the 1990s and again seven years ago - its a great neighborhood but this place is the worst and it just gets worse, never better. While I am not in favor of govt controls of businesses, think how they entire area would improve if this place just went away and a small park was in its place? who do we blame? the store for catering to this crowd or the criminal element that frequents the store? The Township for not doing more? The police? Village Grove Apartments because everyone knows these elements come from that place? it seems simple - get rid of the place but as always, its a bit more complex that that I would send my community funds towards a private security company that was stationed at the store during prime hours, armed with video cameras - maybe the store would match the costs -- how quickly would the criminals disappear if they were being watched?


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Dear walker 101, I assume Dt stands for Detroit and that was meant as derogatory comment on my hometown. Ypsilanti is an honorable name (after a Greek war hero) and it is full of some of finest people you will ever meet. Just because we have some crime does not mean that there are not many redeeming attributes to this city and township. These sorts of comments and attitudes are not helpful and do not improve the situation mentioned here. Let us tackle the problem with some workable solutions. 1. Village Grove Apts have long been the home of quite a few trouble makers. It would be best if the twp. could get the landlord on board with evicting said trouble makers. Most leases have a clause that if you disturb the peaceful enjoyment of your neighbors you may be evicted. This is a broad catagory and does not require the same standard as convicting someone of a crime. It just means that if your landlord receives complaints by your neighbors of excessive traffic, noise or police calls to your apt you may be evicted. 2. The In and Out also has owners who are responsible for loitering, drug dealing, dirty parking lot or excessive police calls to their business. The twp. should work out a plan with said owners to take care of those problems or face the consequences (fines, lose of liquor license, etc.) 3. Remember to use all your assets to attack a problem. The concerned citizens who make the Gault Village and the Shady Knoll Neighborhood Watches are your assets. They are willing and able to help to make this a safe area. Figure out a way to use them.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Maybe it's just me, but I think it would make more sense in "shutting down" Village Grove Apts and getting ride of the trouble-makers. The in & Out is where the people go, but the apartment is where many of them live. If the store is not there those people will just find another place to cause problems.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

I agree that something needs to be done about Village Grove but I would hate to see it shut down because I know a number of people who live there that are not involved in crime, drugs, etc.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

If you see crime? Call. Otherwise put up with it.

Tom Todd

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

I have to agree with John Doe we need more police. I never see police in ypsi township, I not surprised anymore, when people drive right thru red lights, without even yielding. It does not take long to see police in western wayne county.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

Then agree to a tax hike for more sheriff patrol. Right now Ypsi Township uses Washtenaw county sheriff not Ypsi police. It is jurisdiction. I think we are allotted 10 cars? Not sure. So don't complain, get involved.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

It is hard to escape the irony of the store's name and what is happening to the local area as a result of criminal activity. Bet that one doesn't get through.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

It's sad to see this going on in this area, I grew up walking to that store. We never had to worry about getting shot at. We need More Police in Ypsilanti Township.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

We are forming in our area a neighborhood watch committee to get speed bumps and cameras on our streets. Just like West Willow is. Call Tammy the sheriff lady and she will fill you in. Come see how organized we are. No, we are not church affiliated. This is where we vote. The church is being accommodating.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

@jns131 Who is "we"? Are you representing a specific neighborhood in Ypsi Township or are you representing all of Ypsi Township...or is this a church group?


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

We just reduced our sheriff quota because of the economy. Ask Tammy the sheriff lady about that one. Otherwise, need to set up a neighborhood watch and ask for cameras so the sheriff can watch more closely that area. We are getting bumps and cameras. Might want to come to one of our meetings on Dec 6, Ecorse road at the church across from the school. Otherwise, don't complain.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Maybe the city should make them hire a full time armed security guard or they should not be allowed to stay in business, or add massive flood lights to brighten up the lot at night which may lessen the crime there. The owner is correct, all those thugs are coming out of that one apartment complex that happens to be for low income families.... Surprise! The police need to step up and sweep all the guns and drugs from this area its getting ridiculous!