LISBON - For years, the people who lived near the Motorcycle Dream Shop considered it a nightmare. ATVs and dirt bikes were frequently repaired and test-driven at all hours of the day and night, while used vehicles and old boats were often left to accumulate behind the building.
The nightmare may be over after Lisbon police and the Columbiana County Drug Task Force raided the Motorcycle Dream Shop on Friday as part of an investigation into stolen merchandise and possible drug trafficking.
Armed with a search warrant, police officers and DTF agents confiscated motorcycle, ATV and dirt bike frames and parts, many suspected of being stolen, along with a boat that lacked a registration number.
Kurt Whitman of Baker Towing secures some of the ATV and dirt bike frames confiscated Friday from the Motorcycle Dream Shop in Lisbon following a raid by police and county drug task force. The frames are suspected of being stolen. (Photo by Tom Giambroni)
DTF Director Brian McLaughlin said they also found some suspected marijuana on the premises, along with a scales containing suspected drug residue, and packets commonly used for selling heroin.
The raid began about 1:30 p.m., and about six people were present in the workshop area of the building, which is located a block south of the county courthouse at the corner of South Market and West Washington streets. All were handcuffed immediately as a precaution but later released once the area was secure.
Among the group was Jeffrey M. Skidmore, who owns the business. Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble described Skidmore as the "primary suspect," and McLaughlin said charges are expected to be filed.
Police Chief Mike Abraham said they began their investigation into suspected criminal activity at the Dream Shop about a year ago and expanded the probe to include the DTF six months later.
"When we're getting complaints about loud music and other activities down there all hours of the day and night, you know something has to be going on," he said. "Normal business people are open from 8 to 5, but this stuff was going on all night."
Gamble hopes the raid will bring some measure of relief to residents who had to live with the Dream Shop's activities for years. "I'm sure it was suspected, but this was probably more than even they suspected," he said.