East Moline cleans up after raid on house finding guns, drugs, 9 dogs

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT
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EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - East Moline Police Chief Jeff Ramsey said it’s the worst living conditions he’s ever seen.

“I walked through the main level, you know, and in my 23 years in law enforcement, I’ve been in a lot of houses where, you know, things aren’t the nicest,” he said. “This is No. 1 that I’ve seen.”

Authorities say 15 people and nine dogs were living at this flophouse on 20th Avenue in East Moline where three men were arrested on gun and drug charges early Wednesday.

Besides garbage, police said needles and pipes were found throughout the residence.

City officials said they’ve been trying to clean up the house for more than a year.

“Yeah, we can arrest people,” Ramsey said. “But the root problem is the residents. And there’s a lot of laws that protect people when it comes to getting them out of the residence through the eviction process.”

An out-of-state bank owns the home, and city officials said they’re working with the bank on next steps.

Meanwhile, local health department officials have condemned the home.

“The residence was not fit for any occupants: no running water, just filthy conditions, unsanitary,” he said. “And at that point, it was boarded up and deemed uninhabitable.”

Police said they had responded to the house more than 100 times.

Dee Hammond, a neighbor across the street, said the home was a living nightmare.

“Waking up in middle of the night, screaming and fighting and cursing,” she said. “And it’s going on two years, I’ve been listening to all this going on. It just got really, really bad this last year.

“I’ve been wanting to sell my house after my husband passed away and couldn’t do it,” said said.

Hammond said she’s overjoyed that people are finally being forced out.

“I had to come home, the excitement of it finally getting taken care of — I had to take nitroglycerin and lay down,” she said.

Police told TV6 as many as 30 people were living at the house at any given time. Garbage was strewn all over the property, and police said residents were using buckets for toilets.

Clearing out the flop house is a triumph for the neighborhood.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Ramsey said. “I know the neighbors were not happy with this for a long time. And we’ve been working to get there. And we finally got there.”