East Walnut Hills market robbed, neighboring merchants show support for community

EAST WALNUT HILLS, OH (FOX19) - Three teenagers are awaiting trial on charges of robbing an East Walnut Hills market and stealing a customer's credit card.

That customer, Stephen Leeper, is President and CEO of 3CDC, the Cincinnati development organization working to help clean up this sort of thing.

DeSales Market is among several close-knit shops and businesses along Woodburn Avenue in East Walnut Hills. After the market was robbed by three teenagers, other merchants took it personally.

"I was a little frustrated. Knowing that kind of thing happened right around the corner kind of bothered me," said Cincinnati Bicycle owner Paul Baxter. "We're small business owners. We work our butts off to make this happen. Things like this come on and just kind of make it not cool for everybody."

The robbery also bothers Catherine Meguire, owner of Le Bon Vivant. However, Vivant insists she's not going to be scared off.

"You try to instill fear in me. You try to tell me I can't do something. You tell me to roll over and play victim. Heck no, no way. I grew up with two older brothers. I don't put up with that," said Vivant.

Constant improvement is the main reason Bernie Steinkamp, owner of Steinkamp Outfitters, says he set up shop in the neighborhood.

"It is a great part of town, it's a hidden secret," said Steinkamp. "It's surrounded by great diverse neighborhoods. I think it's wonderful."

Neighborhood organizer, Dan Joyner, says safety becomes less of an issue when the community has strong connections.

"I believe it's through the thickening of relationships among the people who can walk to where we are that creates safety so it's not a reliance on better policing - more police," said Joyner.

East Walnut Hills merchants in this neighborhood say they get great support from the police.  However, the police can't do it alone because the neighborhood needs to be actively involved to keep the community safe.

The teenagers charged in the robbery were arrested at Kenwood mall after they tried to use Stephen Leeper's stolen credit card.

Police say the gun the teens used was actually a toy pistol.

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