CBS4 Investigates: Neighbors accuse tire shop of illegally squatting on residential property

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For months, some Fountain Square neighbors have been fighting to get a tire shop removed from their block.

They accuse the local business owner of squatting on vacant residential property and bringing crime with him.

Where CBS4 crews found the tire shop does indeed appear to be on a plot of land marked as residential, that belongs to the same owner of the house in front of it.

“I’ve been back here for two months,” said the man running the shop, who identified himself as John Brickley. “I’ll be out of here, if everything goes right, in the next three weeks.”

John Brickley didn’t want cameras close enough for a one-on-one interview, but agreed to discuss neighbors’ concerns.

According to the NextDoor conversation and Citizens Access Portal searches, neighbors started filing complaints at least two months ago about the piles of tires, tents employees sleep in at night and the fact that Brickley is running a business there at all!

“The city should not be allowing someone on vacant property to camp out, have broken down vehicles, try to run any type of shop, be it a tire shop or anything else,” said Wayne Grubb, who lives adjacent to the tire shop operation.

Grubb says Brickley has run the tire shop in front of and behind other properties as well, including the old tire shop he used to work out of. City records in the access portal back up that claim.

A code enforcement spokesperson couldn’t speak on this specific case. But he does tell me the process from calling in a complaint to the Mayor’s Action Center to inspectors investigating, following up and then issuing citations and fines can be lengthy. They try to give people time to learn the law and clean up their act.

“Sometimes it can take several months, up to a year, sometimes more,” said Business and Neighborhood Services spokesperson Dimitri Kyser. “It really depends on the situation, the severity of the violations.”

The city has confirmed they’re pursuing legal action.

Brickley himself says he has a court date set to settle the issue on February 8th of next year. But he says he plans to be long gone by then.

Grubb worries he and his neighbors don’t have that kind of time. He suspects the shop is attracting drug activity.

And now that it’s cold he thinks the open fires they’re now burning could quickly turn dangerous. Brickley maintains he’s not doing anything wrong.

“I’m just trying to survive,” Brickley. “I can walk up and down here and sell heroin, I can sell dope, but if you go back here and change the tires, by God don’t do that! They’re going to slam you hard.”

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