Crime

Drugs, fights and prostitution: Why officials beg for help to close a Myrtle Beach home

State asks court to shut down Myrtle Beach House

After numerous reports of drug use and assaults in the past year state officials are trying to shut down a 5th Avenue North "nuisance" house.
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After numerous reports of drug use and assaults in the past year state officials are trying to shut down a 5th Avenue North "nuisance" house.

Drug use, prostitution, fights and seemingly constant police calls to one Myrtle Beach residence led the area’s prosecutor to ask a judge for help in shutting it down.

The Horry County solicitor’s office described the 5th Avenue North home as a “nuisance” in court paperwork.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson filed the request in Horry County Circuit Court this week. Joe Rideoutte Jr. is the owner for 407 5th Ave. North and named as the defendant. The home is commonly referred to as the “Yellow House” — despite being bright teal — according to court records.

The house is a two-story facility that rents rooms to tenants, according to a court filing.

In 2016, the state filed a nuisance action against the residence. Richardson said at that time they believed it was the first nuisance request against a home in the Myrtle Beach area.

The nuisance label and closure requests are typically used for problematic businesses in the Grand Strand. As a result of the 2016 case, Rideoutte could resume his business, but certain conditions must be met.

The state, in the filing, says Rideoutte has not followed those conditions since reopening earlier this year. The problems include:

  • Myrtle Beach police and medical personnel have responded five times since May for drug overdoses. Nobody has died because emergency crews administered Narcan to counteract the drugs.
  • Officers have responded to “multiple calls” for drug use and dealing at the house since the end of March. The calls ranged from people claiming to buy drugs to a child being taken from the home. That child later tested positive for cocaine.
  • Police also had multiple reports of fights and assaults at the Yellow House, such as tenants threatening people with a razor and a hammer to someone hitting another with a bat.
  • A nearby business also described Yellow House tenants leaving drug trash in a parking lot, seeing prostitution and had assault victims visit the business pleading for help.

In total, Myrtle Beach police have had 213 calls for service to the residence in 2018, according to department data.

The filing calls the activity at the Yellow House “offensive to public decency, morals, peace and health and constitutes a public nuisance.”

Officials say they gave written notice of being a nuisance home to Rideoutte on Oct. 19.

The request asks a judge to prohibit Rideoutte, people associated with him and employees from using the home. The filing also asks for permission to take possession of all the property inside the facility that is used to create the nuisance.

Rideoutte could not be reached in time for this report. One Yellow House resident said Wednesday there were no drugs, and if there were, she “wouldn’t be living there.”

Homes or businesses with a handful of complaints are not nuisances, Richardson said. He described a nuisance as a property with so many problems it has an impact on the people that live and work nearby.

“When it’s the worst of the worst, we try to go after those,” he said.

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.


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