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Township, Twin Oaks Taking Steps to Address Problem Property

Representatives from Twin Oaks Community Services say they're taking "very seriously" allegations of criminal activity at the Moorestown home the organization rents out.

The owners of a troubled township property are taking steps to quell neighbors’ concerns after being confronted with stories of drugs and other shady activity.

Pam Collins, chief development officer at Twin Oaks Community Services, said the organization is “deeply concerned” over the allegations neighbors have recently made regarding activity at the home on Villa Avenue, which is owned by Twin Oaks.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” she said Tuesday.

First and foremost, she said, Twin Oaks has banned the man who seemed to be causing the most consternation, William Clifford.

According to neighbors, Clifford had been staying at the home and was related to the female tenant. He was arrested on Sept. 24 and charged with burglarizing a residence on Villa Avenue, in which police said he stole $749 in electronics. Moorestown Police arrested Clifford—whose address is listed as Maple Shade—again on Oct. 9 on possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to Sgt. Lee Lieber, who said he believes Clifford is currently free on bail.

Neighbors lodged other complaints against the property, including suspected drug activity, with cars coming and going at all hours of the day, and prostitution.

Lieber said the department is increasing patrols in that area and urging residents to call if they see any suspicious activity.

“We’re obviously seriously concerned about allegations of drugs and prostitution,” he said. “We’re taking definitive action. But we can’t sit and wait for something to happen unfortunately … We don’t have the materials to do a stakeout.”

Collins said Twin Oaks has contacted the tenant as well and said she is cooperating. The home was previously owned by Family Service and used as a transitional home for mentally challenged individuals. However, since Family Service merged with Steininger Behavioral Care Services earlier this year, the property is used for affordable housing for individuals who are homeless or near-homeless, according to Collins.

Twin Oaks also intends to work with the township and residents to resolve the ongoing issues with the property over the long-term, Collins said. “When this has occurred in the past, we have worked with the neighbors, we’ve worked with the township.”

Collins said the organization has guidelines for eviction, “and if that's the conclusion after meeting with the township and the police, that’s where we’ll go.”

Township manager Scott Carew said he plans to meet with Lieber and a representative from Twin Oaks this week. Carew said he also advised zoning officer Pete Clifford to inspect the home for code violations. 

"We want to work with Twin Oaks to make sure we resolve not just the current situation, but also that we successfully avoid (any future problems)," said Carew.

In a statement released Tuesday, Twin Oaks CEO Bob Pekar said, “Twin Oaks cares deeply about the individuals and families we serve and also the surrounding communities. We truly appreciate the positive relationship we have had over the past 40 years with the Moorestown community. Everyone at Twin Oaks is alarmed with this news and we will do everything we can to address these important concerns.”

Collins encouraged residents to contact Twin Oaks at 609-267-5928 if they have concerns.

I heart Mo-town October 17, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I am pleased to hear that Twin Oaks is paying attention. I live directly next door to this property - my house, and the property owned by Twin Oaks are just feet apart. Police activity has been increased. I work from home, my home office faces the street, I can see the traffic and activity and over the last 2 days, police presence is greatly on the rise. It's comforting to see the patrol cars. However, the real issue here are the residents who are placed in this home. Ms. Collins mentions that the home is for homeless or near homeless people. I find this questionable as the current resident is from Maple Shade and her father visits frequently. He is employed (as evidenced by the signage on his car) and I wonder why she can't live at home with her father? I suspect there is more going on here than meets the eye. But I digress ..... I would also like to add that as a next door neighbor to the property, I have never been contacted by Twin Oaks, former owner/property manager, Family Services or, for that matter, the Twp of Moorestown about this property or any of the problems resulting from this property. The only time this property and it's problems have been addressed is when I contact Town Council or call the police. To my knowledge, none of the other residents on Villa have been contacted either. It's a disgrace. Moorestown should be ashamed of itself for allowing this to happen in our town. I was born on this street in 1954 and I never thought I'd see the day.
Pete October 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM
“But we can’t sit and wait for something to happen unfortunately … We don’t have the materials to do a stakeout.” Now that statement just encourages the perps to continue their nasty business. They read Patch on the computers that the taxpayers have bought for them, in the houses that the taxpayers are also funding. BIG MISTAKE TO PUBLISH THAT STATEMENT ! ! ! ! !
Rob Scott (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Pete, I think what Sgt. Lieber was saying is that the police department doesn't have the resources to perform a stakeout based solely on allegations of criminal activity. That's all. As for your comment about "the computers that the taxpayers have bought for them," I'm not sure what that means.
I heart Mo-town October 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Rob, I think what Pete might have meant in reference to the computers is that someone is paying for this property - not the residents who live in it. How much of it is taxpayer dollars, I'm not sure - but I am investigating that. I know from former residents under family services, that food money was given to the residents. I assume the same holds true under Twin Oaks as the residents do not seem to be employed. I do know that the property is well maintained - professionally landscaped, including spring and fall clean up of the property. I've seen HVAC vehicles there - assuming they are maintaining the heater (the AC is window units) and other maintenance going on (new toilet and kitchen appliances, new furniture, etc.) Someone pays for that. I, of course, have no idea if computers are in the home or not. I think Pete may have simply been trying to make a point. I'd like to stress again that the police are doing a fantastic job at monitoring the property. They have always been VERY responsive to all of us here, every time we have had to call them in the past. I commend them for a job - as always - very well done.
Pete October 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Rob, that’s exactly my point. Your article was a good one, and it indicated the police were on the case. BUT, you did not have to tell them that there would be no stake-out – that gives the advantage to the bad guys and was not necessary for you to report that. Don’t give away the police tactics or lack thereof ! These people are on public assistance. Do you think they have the money to buy their own computers?
Pete October 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
LLL, congratulations, as it is folks like you that stand up for all of us. The Police can’t be everywhere at all times. We all need to be vigilant. I certainly support helping people that are in real need because of physical or mental health issues. The problem is that there are many in this country that really don’t have these problems and take advantage of the largess of the taxpayers and state agencies.
Easy A October 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM
First of all... I think that you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Yes, the tennants brother has had drug problems in the past. He has since vacated the premesis. But as far as the origanal tennant... she has done nothing to deserve your accusations. Whether or not her father works is none of your business. There are circumstances as to why she cannot live with her parents. She keeps to herself and is completely embarassed about what he has done. But he is her family and you dont give up on your family. I really hope that none of your family members becomes hooked on drugs ( which is EXTREMELY possible considering the epidemic of drugs abuse thats continually on the rise ) Then you will understand that you will do everything in your power not to see them homeless or end up dead. The woman that lives there is an amazing sister. She does everything she can to keep her little brother out of trouble. And as far as people saying that cars are coming back and forth has nothing to do with prostitution or drugs. She has friends that care about her and the predicament she is in. I am actually one of those cars that comes there to visit her so i dare you to call me a prostitute the next time you see me. ( I drive the little red car.) And as far as William, hes extremely sorry for what hes done and he will be paying the consequences. Drugs change you completely and that wasnt really him that day that broke in the neighbors house. I have known him seven years and I know thats
Easy A October 21, 2012 at 03:09 PM
not who he really is. You people are a sad excuse for humanity. The only people who should have anything to say are the neighbors who were robbed. His sister is so upset about it and very sorry. So keep up with your small town rumors about prostitution and drug trafficking. I hear the banjos now... Bored people with nothing better to do that relish in other peoples hard times. I'll pray for you
we.all.shine.on October 21, 2012 at 04:43 PM
ok... so your so ignorant its cute. they do not get free food or money. i think you forget that right down the street is camden where the majority of people are getting subsidized housing and food stamps. but as long as its out of sight its out of mind right?? well guess what? the economy is in the toilet and you'll be seeing a lot more white families needing help to get back on their feet. I hope that the economy doesn't effect you the way it has others b/c karma is a you-know-what. and lets make one thing clear --> you DO NOT live in bedford falls or pleasantville. you basically in the slums of moorestown. hoodrats have been running your streets and stealing out of cars for years. FYI. your area of town is like maple shade or worse. Leave the family alone. this is completely cruel. its none of you business whats in their house so try peel the binoculars away from your eyes you bored old spinster and get a life <3
we.all.shine.on October 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM
~ "I live directly next door to this property - my house, and the property owned by Twin Oaks are just feet apart. " ~ "I was born on this street in 1954 and I never thought I'd see the day." Wowwww you made it far in life. bahhh
George October 21, 2012 at 11:24 PM
banjos? wazat mean
Rob Scott (Editor) October 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Commenters, I understand some of you have very strong feelings about this issue, which is fine. But just please refrain from using foul or offensive language. Thank you.
Hmmm October 23, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Any updates on this issue?
Rob Scott (Editor) October 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Hmmm, I haven't heard anything lately, but then again, I haven't asked. I'll follow up on it this week and if there's anything new to report, you'll know.
Hmmm October 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Thanks Rob
Storeyluv12@yahoo.com November 05, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I would like to advise any one who owns a property on Villa Ave that all the problems are done. As of July 2013 a family moved in to the property. Which includes two adults and one toddler. They are nice caring respectful people who are all about raising there child in nice house and great town most of the neighbors have been introduced there hasn't been any trouble at all. Thank you Twin Oaks for choosing a family this time they are what we needed.
Pete November 05, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Hopefully things will continue to go well.......
I heart Mo-town November 06, 2013 at 10:12 AM
The new neighbors are wonderful and hopefully can stay a long time. As long as the property is not privately owned, we run the risk of problems. Fingers crossed we can keep the neighbors we currently have - forever!

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