BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Buffalo firefighter is fed up with drugs and crime in his neighborhood and is now warning drug dealers that they are being watched and they are not welcome.
Dan Milovich sits, watches and waits for these alleged drug deals to happen. And when they do, he rushes outside, snaps pictures of the alleged criminals and sends them to police. He's taking an enormous risk but says the problem needs to stop.
"The characters there decide to come on to our side of Philadelphia Street and either deal drugs, use drugs, shoot dope, and I got kind of tired of looking at it," Milovich said.
The Buffalo firefighter has hung a handmade sign in a prominent place on a pole on Philadelphia Street, warning would-be criminals that neighbors are taking a stand.
"We want to be able to put my grandson, my granddaughter out on the porch and have her play on the front lawn," Milovich said. "And there are tons of kids."
Milovich, a firefighter who's lived in the city for 30 years, says he's just fed up with it and the sign was a way to express that frustration.
"I probably put a whole eight minutes into it and another eight minutes into putting it up and it's been effective."
He's asked for a city surveillance camera to be installed to no avail. And that's when he decided to take matters into his own hands.
The sign Milovich made hangs feet away from a recently opened corner store at Philadelphia and Ontario that the firefighter claims is the root of all the problems.
North District Councilman Joe Golombek said, "We're not happy with the store being open over there. We think a lot of the activity is coming from those stores and that store in particular."
Golombek fought to keep the corner store out of the area knowing, he says, it would bring unwanted crime to the neighborhood.
"They're like cockroaches to be honest with you," Golombek said, "Once you put some light on them they scatter. And I want them in jail. I want them out; I want them in prison; I want them arrested. But I want them gone; I want them out of the neighborhood."
While the neighborhood waits for a camera, Golombek says the sign will stay.
"We've got a lot of scumbags that have moved into the neighborhood and don't have the neighborhood at heart," Golombek said.
Riyadh Almadrahi owns Ray's Deli and admits there's a problem with drugs in the area, but says he isn't to blame.
"I'm trying my best here, but I'm not the police," Almadrahi said. "Unfortunately, some of my customers are drug dealers, but I can't tell them, 'You're a drug dealer, don't come in my store. You can't come to shop.' But if I see him doing drugs in my store, it's my responsibility to make sure he doesn't do it. When I hear him just talk about it, 'Oh, anyone got anything?' I tell him, 'Please, don't do it in my store. You have to leave right now.'"
The store owner has cameras in the store recording everything. He says that video has been turned over to police from time to time and he says he's willing to work with the community to combat the problem.
Milovich says home is where his heart is and he isn't going anywhere. He will continue to fight to keep drug dealers out of his neighborhood.
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