MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Solicitor's Office says the recent shootings at Crush Gentlemen's Club were the last straw in their decision to shut down the club.
According to Assistant Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, Crush was notified Saturday that they were to suspend business, closing down the strip club located off of Highway 17 bypass.
"The club is now officially closed after we have determined it is a public nuisance," explains Assistant Solicitor Jimmy Richardson.
A public nuisance has to have a criminal connection. Police have been tracking the crime trends at this particular strip club for months. The latest shooting happened two weeks ago, which then led to a fight in the Emergency Room, putting the hospital on lock-down for most of the day.
"Right now we have a priority to make the area safe. The landowners can decide to re-open as a different club, under a different name, with different owners," explains Mr. Richardson
There is a possibility that it will not be able to re-open as a strip club.
"Some strip clubs are grand fathered in to certain zones. If it is determined that this building is in a zone that no longer allows a gentlemen's club, they will not be able to re-open as one," explains Mr. Richardson.
They will also be looking into if the building is too close to the church behind it. If it is, and it re-opens, the establishment will not be able to sell alcohol.
"Businesses cannot sell alcohol when it is in proximity to certain buildings, such as churches and schools. If they are opened before the church moves nearby, they can continue to sell alcohol. But, in this case, where a business is being shut down, they will not be able to re-open and obtain their liquor license if that is the case," explains Mr. Richardson.
Neighbors in the area are glad the Solicitor's Office is taking an interest in closing down business that are prone to crime.
"I think it can only be beneficial if people take a look at what businesses are there and what activity is going on around them. If crime is going on, than what is causing that crime," says Deb Tunstall, a recent Myrtle Beach resident.
She believes shutting down such businesses will help Myrtle Beach to grow.
"I see a growth here in Myrtle Beach, in the area. I know people want it to be a family friendly place. They want to be able to come here, enjoy the community as much as the beautiful weather, and not have to worry about crime," says Mrs. Tunstall.
The Solicitor's Office says they have at least 6-7 public nuisance cases a year, but want to increase that number.
"Shutting a business down, taking away property, that hurts someone more. Too many people are willing to serve jail time or pay a fine, but once you start taking property away from them is when their conduct starts to change," explains Mr. Richardson
If you feel like you live close to a business or neighbor that is hurting your community, you can contact your local police department.
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