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Vandals invade vacant house

A home on Sampson Avenue, which has remained vacant for the past five years, was opened and occupied by vandals for two weeks before steps were taken to secure the property.

After complaints about seeing strangers walking in and out of the house at 2878 Sampson Avenue, neighbors reached out to Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who promised to work with the City to get the front door, boarded and padlocked once more.

“Our office has contacted the owner, but she has been unresponsive about her plans,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca about securing the property, and its future. “The owner has on many occasions been unavailable when issues like these arouse.”

Owner Janet Bhoopsingh slated the piece of property, a one family house with a large side yard, for development in 2005. Bhoopsingh attempted to construct a second home next to the first, according to neighbors.

The home had been sealed after it became clear that a development plan for the property was scrapped. Since that time, the property has become overgrown with weeds, overrun with mice, part of its back fence has been torn down, and household items are being dumped at the location. 

Bhoopsingh’s project ground to a halt as the Department of Buildings placed a full stop-work order on the structure in March 2006. The stop-work order was issued for failing to provide an adequate amount of information in the building plans.

The stop work order, brought at the request of the community, yielded results. In April, the plans originally submitted by Bhoopsingh, were withdrawn, effectively lifting the stop work order, but doing nothing to secure the property. 

Neighbors who live near the home have complained about possible drug sales and use in and around the vacant site, and many are worried that the house is an attractive spot for dumping and theft.

 “In July, it will be five years since this house is vacant,” next-door neighbor Steve Salemi stated. “About two years ago, people claiming to be from the owner of the house came onto my property with two ladders each, and started to remove aluminum siding from the [vacant] building. When I told them they didn’t have permission to come onto my property, they left quickly.”

Salemi, who has lived in the home next door for the past 34 years, said the vacant house has negatively impacted his quality of life. The concerned neighbor states that while he personally has found no evidence of drug use or other illicit activity going on in the home, he was nevertheless upset about its poor condition.

“All of this garbage, and these mice and stray cats living in overgrown bushes next to the house is an eyesore,” Salemi noted. “If I had my way, I would like to see the home torn down and a new, nice home built on the property.”

Bhoopsingh, an absentee landlord, was unavailable for comment at her south Bronx office.

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