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Bedford Heights leaders, shoppers report Family Dollar store issues

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 18:08:22-05

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio — Bedford Heights city leaders and some local shoppers report what they call "ongoing potential safety concerns" at the Family Dollar store located at 25061 Rockside Road.

Shoppers sent News 5 pictures and video of partially blocked aisles, filled with boxes of unopened, opened or spilled merchandise.

Shopper Vivian Kvet told News 5 she's witnessed multiple disturbances and fights at the store, and she's concerned about store safety.

“Someone is going to be hurt in there, and they’re going to be hurt very badly,” Kvet said.

“It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, there’s merchandise scattered everywhere, and like I said, sometimes merchandise is way up over people’s heads.”

The Bedford Heights Law Department sent News 5 58 pages of police calls for service to the store over the past two years.

According to the police reports officers responded to multiple fights, threats, thefts and a smash and grab robbery in Dec. 2018.

Customers threatened to enter the store with a weapon, or were reportedly caught throwing merchandise at store staff members, according to police reports.

Bedford Heights Mayor Fletcher Berger said his city has taken Family Dollar to court over safety code violations, and said the city is in the process of working with Family Dollar to solve ongoing issues.

“There is no way you can defend the appearance of the place,” Berger said.

“We’re not going to allow them to store stuff in front of exit signs and block safety of getting out of the place.”

“We insist that you do the right thing, we want you to have a store that enhances the brand that we have in Bedford Heights, Ohio.”

After News 5 showed Mayor Berger pictures of conditions inside the store, he immediately sent his Assistant Fire Chief to the location to conduct a safety inspection.

News 5 contacted Family Dollar headquarters about concerns at the Bedford Heights store, it responded quickly and issued a short statement:

"We recently addressed the store conditions and reinforced our ongoing procedures with the store team."

Mayor Berger remains confident the store will continue to make safety improvements.

“I am willing to assure you that if you were to turn around and go back over there, you will see better results,” Berger said.