Wildomar Cracks Down On Abandoned Properties: Grisly Killing Scene First On The List

“It’s been like the Wild West and there have been no consequences," said Wildomar Mayor Ben Benoit.

A month before a man was found dead in a shack on an abandoned property in Wildomar, city officials say they had already started the process of placing the ramshackle real estate into receivership.

“We started in August, and what happened there last month has helped push things along,” said City Manager Frank Oviedo, noting that violation notices and warnings had been served to the property owner well before Wildomar took steps to take over the property this summer.

when the body of a man, who police say was the victim of a homicide, was found there. The man’s identity has not been released by authorities, but police have arrested three people in the case: Summer Sharmaine Stephens, 38, Anthony Albert Garcia, 32, and a 13-year-old boy. Each has been charged with murder.

The property was known as a home to transients in the area, including the three accused. After the killing, the city fenced the property with chain link, and a visit to the scene last week showed all was quiet there.

The cost to Wildomar to take receivership of the abandoned property is $20,000, Oviedo explained, noting that through the foreclosure process he expects to recoup the expense.

The initial cash outlay is one reason Oviedo said he can’t take action on every dilapidated, abandoned property in the city.

“It’s not practical, nor would we want to do that. We’re only going after the worst offenders,” he said -- those who continually ignore violation notices and allow their properties to become a public health nuisance.

Still, both Oviedo and Wildomar Mayor Ben Benoit say they are taking a much tougher approach these days. During a regularly scheduled city council meeting earlier this year, they warned of the crackdown.

“It’s taken 30 years to get here,” Oviedo said recently of the situation in Wildomar.

Benoit added, “It’s been like the Wild West and there have been no consequences.”

Oviedo said he and staff have prioritized a list of dilapidated properties they will be going after if the owners continue to flout violations.

“We have to do things right,” Oviedo said. “We would rather owners take responsibility.”

In the meantime, Oviedo said the city is not going to put up with crumbling structures that attract vagrants and graffiti vandals.

“We’re not going to stop until we get this cleaned up,” Oviedo said. “I’m confident we’ll get there.”

J Carabine October 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM
It's abut time they thought abut cleaning up this area and cracking down. I used to document graffiti here in Wildomar until it became a full time job with no pay and no one taking notice. Nothing is done about it. Lately I notice TRASH everywhere, it is a shame people don't care about their community. There are so many places falling down, graffiti, trash and it does nothing for house values. Some of our city's council want us to shop here and support Wildomar. It is not easy to do, I think they are only looking into the nicer areas, of which there is some for sure and ignoring the rest. The corner of Palomar and Central has become a spot for some of the local homeless. I recently documented them. The lot across from the market there and the yards nearby are littered with miniature and large alcohol bottles. From Central and Palomar north to the post office driveway the other day I counted 42 of them !! :(. Where are our police at night when this is going on? This building on Mission trail has been in this shape for a long while, I photographed that a couple years ago and send the graffiti picture to the city. It has never changed, nothing done, not surprised at this story ;(. saddened but not surprised.
Savage October 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM
That would work if our City Manager would take action. Or if he's in town. Don't try on Friday - he's off that day. $200,000+ per year and this is what it gets us. Great contract he was handed by the city council! CalPERS bennies, too! For life! The plan that is basically bankrupting California. Candy from babies......
Savage October 11, 2012 at 01:04 AM
You are not alone, and that is sadly comforting. Comforting to know that there are those among us willing to take a stand, to try and do what they can to improve the community. Sad in that your results are similar to those of others here - disappointment. There is an election coming up. Time for some new blood at City Hall. The inauguration celebration is over. Time to get to work on the business of governing.
Anita Drink October 11, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Robert Blackmen, you said "steal booz and drink there and slam drugs up there arms" how do you know this to be true? Please explain how you have knowledge of this.
Naty October 11, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Robert Blackmen is right, everyone in town knew about this abandoned house!
Janice Travis Downey October 11, 2012 at 03:16 AM
The city isn't doing anything. I am going over there heads and will demand accounting. We need to stand together as a community and take action so we can clean this up and keep our families and other families safe. What a shame the city of Wildomar is. Disgusting...
Janice Travis Downey October 11, 2012 at 03:36 AM
http://wildomarvoice.com/public_representatives.asp I will be making phone calls tomorrow. I will not stop until this is fixed. It feels like we live in a third world country. I pay my taxes. Where is the money going I wonder? Parks shut down, graffiti, gangs, fights, murders, abandoned houses, and people driving 50 mph in residential areas. I don't feel safe here and that is a problem.
Diana October 11, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Would this be the Wildomar City Manager?
Diana October 11, 2012 at 03:55 AM
If we don't stand up and fight the fight it will continue to spiral downward into a bigger ghetto.
Diana October 11, 2012 at 03:55 AM
You go Janice!!!!!!!!
julie dawson October 11, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Four more years of Obama and it will be like Detroit.
Roberto October 11, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Ther is a lot wrong with the City of Lake Elsinore but one thing that is right is dealing with properties that are in direpair. The City of Lake Elsinore even does a better job than Riverside County! One year from start to tear down when no plan is in place to mitigate the problem. This no nonsense approach should be a model for all of Riverside county.
Jardona October 11, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Julie first of all the empty properties have nothing to do with President Obama. He didn't abandon the properties the owners did. You people blame Obama for everything that is wrong in your damn life. Pathetic. This is a city and community problem not a government.
Janice Travis Downey October 11, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Julie I agree with you. It is a scary thought. We need strong minds and voices speaking up for everyone out there. The root of the problem has not been resolved for years. 879 billion a year for illegal immigration. I wonder when our so called leaders will start showing compassion for the people who pay them and not those who take advantage of the system set up for US citizens. Think of illegal immigration as a tree. You stop watering the tree so the roots of the tree search for water and go where the water is. Eventually the tree dies but so does everything around it.. A lot of Californians have moved out of state or country because they are sick of how the politicians have lost touch with what matters. "US" U.S. citizens... The tax payers. We the people now more than ever. Obama spent most of his time in office as a puppet playing golf while someone else did his job.
DDMH October 11, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Hey guys, This is political silly season. It's when the people of a community are promised everything their heart's have desired for the past 2 years. Then we are supposed take a political amnesia pill and march to our local polling place, or mail our absentee ballot, say thank you very very much and reelect same folks who have been in charge effectively ignoring us since the past election. This political control process has successfully worked, cycle after cycle and it is only when enough people in a community take an active roll, years before an election, that anything will ever really change. Hope we see you all at your next city council and planning commission meetings over the next two years. See you next fairytale moment/silly season 2 years years from now. I hope the dialogue will open up new ideas, new commitments and ultimately real change.
julie dawson October 11, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I used to be patient with most people, but it is difficult because people seem to be asleep. Jacqueline think before you speak. Obama's policies have slowed the entire economy and , that trickles down to cities. All his fees taxes and regulations are destructive to the economy. I wish you were smart enough to connect the dots but you see the world in a simple way. Businesses create a tax base and that money goes to the city to solve problems, pay for police take care of blight and many other things. Owners abandon properties for many reasons. In case you haven't noticed people are losing their homes, secondary to no jobs. Hopefully the next president will know how to get the economy moving, and places like Wildomar will be able to attract business and build homes which add to the tax base. If not we will see more crime, abandoned buildings and homeless all across the United States. People don't blame Obama for all their problems, but they are smart enough unlike you to see that he is not helping the economy, in fact he is hurting it. Watch your language it makes you sound like the Obama phone lady.
J Carabine October 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
"Oviedo said he and staff have prioritized a list of dilapidated properties they will be going after if the owners continue to flout violations." Here's one to start with: The busted up mobile that sits on the property north of the Jack in the Box on Orange Street. Owners tried to make a " market" out of it a few years ago, dogs have been left in it or tied outside, it is a mess, eyesore and one should be able to contact the owners. They seem to be around the property.
Ken Mayes October 11, 2012 at 02:38 PM
All these people that want the city to fix the problem. This is the same city that located city hall as far away from downtown Wildomar as they could, so far they are almost in Murrieta.
BlahBlah October 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I don't like Obama nor Dems either, but to blame Wildomar's problem on them is not logical. If you do think Obama and Dems are the problem, why is Murrieta and Temecula relatively more safe than Wildomar? Did Obama selectively choose not to screw those cities up? You need to look at local Wildomar city officials. Vote them all out of office. That is something you actually do have the power to do if you can rally enough neighbors to do so.
KevWild October 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM
This Jacqueline reminds me of another Jacqueline that was on here. Both very caustic.
julie dawson October 11, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Good point blaa blaa, But I am looking at the bigger picture not just Temecula and a few other cities. I like your name but I don't like Obla blaa. Speaking of Obla blaa Romney is doing well in the Rassmussen poll today, take a look.:)
KevWild October 11, 2012 at 04:47 PM
In the past I have sent Toni McAllister two emails requesting an article be posted on graffiti awareness in Wildomar. To date, I haven't received a reply to either of the emails. If she has other priorities, I can understand that, but a quick courtesy reply would've been nice. I have painted over and cleaned lots of graffiti in Wildomar, as well as reported it. For the moment it's a little nicer, but there's still more to go. Lots more. City council, if you're reading this, can you please step up graffiti removal? If you're short funded, I'm willing to volunteer my time and labor at no charge. I just need permission, cuz right now I'm probably not legally allowed to clean up the stuff I've already done. Inbox me here on the patch if you want my services.
Savage October 11, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Yes @Diana, it would be the Wildomar City Manager, Frank Oviedo.
Anita Drink October 11, 2012 at 09:32 PM
as far as i'm concerned Lake Elsinore is a dump, always have, and always will be.
Diana October 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
@Ken, not sure what the location of City Hall has to do with the article at hand, please explain?
Antonio October 12, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Code enforcement only acts on complaints. They don't act on their own. It's their policy because they get accused of targeting. So residents "start making complaints to City Code Enforcement." Just make sure its an real issue.
Teller of Truth October 12, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Well KevW Aka Constant#2 aka Seen it, Aka etc....at least she wasn't as despicable as to STEAL someone 'elses' name! I hope that Constant isn't in the hospital because of what you did to him!
Teller of Truth October 12, 2012 at 08:34 AM
Because J Carabine, KevW is the loser that stole CC's name and goes by Seenitbefore etc... hes only full of Shiat about helping anyone do anything. You won't be meeting him to volunteer. Hes only on here to have a cyber friend, Sad & pathetic!
JMO October 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Have the fire dept burn one a week for training, Remember when that baby got molested and rat bits and physically abused years ago in a Mobil home in Wildomar. well the neighbors burnt that down and word came to let it go to the ground. Lets not leave new spots for despicable crimes. BTW that is what make a hood a ghetto.
J Carabine October 14, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Agree with you here. That whole strip could use a facelift.


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