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EL landlord charged over roach rental

EAST LIVERPOOL — Neighbors talking about a city landlord’s property in the 700 block of Sophia Street have created visions of something akin to “Fear Factor,” when describing their plight to city council.

City officials, tiring of Aaron Stevens’ alleged inactivity regarding the issue, dragged him into city municipal court on new charges.

Stevens, who this time was accompanied with his new attorney Mike Davis, plead not guilty to charges of exterior protection, open areas and infestation (two counts) Thursday before East Liverpool Municipal Court Judge Dominic Frank.

For the last couple months, neighbors of a Stevens’ rental property in the 700 block of Sophia have been showing up at city council and city’s property committee meetings to complain about how the house is infested with nomadic cockroaches that now have been making their way to their properties.

During an August council meeting, neighbors recounted how the issue is so bad that city garbage men won’t even pick up the garbage anymore due to inadvertently picking up stowaway bugs.

Back then, a neighbor said experts had estimated that the condemned property was home to around 50,000 roaches and was worsening due to Stevens’ inactivity.

Judge Frank scheduled Stevens to return at 10 a.m. Oct. 25 for a pretrial on the charges and released him on a $1000 own recognizance bond.

In the spring, Frank had convicted Stevens on high grass and weeds violations (two counts). During that bench trial, Stevens testified to owning approximately 150 properties, including 115 rental and 30 land contract properties, within the city of East Liverpool.

If convicted of these latest charges, which are second-degree misdemeanors, Stevens faces up to $3,000 in fines. It is unknown if he also could face jail time.

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