TROY, N.Y.(NEWS10) – Several months of a police investigation in Troy resulted in the arrest of a store owner and his employee. NEWS10 ABC hearing from neighboring business owners about the impact.

The owner and a clerk at a convenience store located at 71 Congress Street in Troy are facing multiple charges ranging from selling unstamped cigarettes and unlicensed alcohol, to criminal possession of stolen property.

Police say some of the criminal acts include encouraging people to steal items from other local businesses that could be re-sold at the convenience store.

But the owner says he thought he was helping people who were homeless by buying from them.

“Listen, if I do any mistake, I’m not doing it again. I’m here to feed my family. I’m not here to do no problems. I’ve been here for 15 years I never got arrested. That’s my first time being arrested,” said store owner Iskander Ali.

Robin McDonough is the owner of one of Troy’s oldest businesses in the area and has had concerns before the recent arrests.

“The stuff that happens on the corner and in the bodega has become a safety issue for the community,” said to McDonough.

Next door at Troy Quick Shoe Repair, owner Dan Schongar praises police efforts.

“It was cleaned up last year because of police presence prior to that like 2 to 3 years ago it was terrible. Probably worst part of downtown Troy is right here on this block on Congress Street,” said Schongar.

Seamus Donnelly, board member with the Troy BID says this could have been resolved sooner if the city utilized the nuisance abatement point system.

“The mayor has the ability to take action to close a place down for 6 months I want to say even up to 12 months. so now I’ve been told that this place here behind me has racked up like double or triple of those points in a year,” said Donnelly.

In a statement, Assistant Chief of Police Steven Barker says, “Over the course of the past several months our Community Services Bureau has interacted with a local business at 71 Congress Street regarding a multitude of concerns brought to our Community Police Officers from residents, other business owners and members of the Troy PD Patrol Division. The Community Police Officers began by engaging in conversation with the business owner in an attempt to reduce the quality-of-life issues occurring at the business. These issues included verbal/physical disturbances, illegal drug activity and general code enforcement issues.

After several weeks of the business owner failing to engage in any corrective measures the Community Police Officers met with internal partners from our Detective Bureau, City Code Enforcement, and other agency partners from the NYS State Liquor Authority & local businesses to develop an enforcement plan. Those efforts, and the resulting investigation, concluded not only was the business failing to correct any known issues the owner & employee were facilitating many other illegal actions. These additional criminal acts included encouraging other suspects to steal specific products from other local area businesses which could then be sold at the convenience store. The owner & employee also sold alcohol products in violation of NYS ABC law, manipulated tax stamps on cigarettes in violation of NYS law, marketing/selling flavored vape cartridges in violation of NYS law amongst a variety of other code enforcement violations.

The investigation was concluded through the execution of several separate search warrants across several days. As a result of those search warrants nearly a thousand dollars of stolen products were recovered. Two individuals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the crimes, they have been issued appearance tickets and will appear in Troy City Court.

We are incredibly proud of the efforts of the team who sought to address many issues occurring at this store. The store was at the nexus of many quality-of-life issues impacting the residents & businesses in the surrounding area. The Community Police Officers assigned to that area, along with internal & external partners, sought to address the issues in a progressive manner. When the store owner failed to act, the response escalated to enforcement. We are confident the Troy Police Department Community Services Bureau have exhausted all the resources available to them in targeting the illegal activities occurring at this location. The area will have the continued focus of our department and any future criminal behaviors will be addressed, as necessary. It is a great example of the persistent effort by our Community Police Officers and their desire to act upon the concerns of our community members.”

NEWS10 has reached out to the mayor’s office to discuss the violations and use of the nuisance abatement law but have not heard back and await a response.