12/08/04 — Alleged house of prostitution shut down

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Alleged house of prostitution shut down

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on December 8, 2004 2:03 PM

An alleged house of prostitution has been shut down, at least temporarily, under the public nuisance statute, Sheriff Carey Winders and District Attorney Branny Vickory have announced.

Wayne County Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell issued a temporary restraining order to close The Doll House at 6208 U.S. 70 East.

Vickory said the order, the first step in a civil nuisance abatement case, prohibits any illegal activity on the property until a hearing is held on a preliminary injunction.

"The District Attorney's Office is filing this suit in an effort to be responsive to citizen complaints," Vickory said. "The illegal activities occurring at this business are a detriment to the community."

Winders said his office recently conducted an undercover operation that resulted in numerous solicitations for acts of prostitution.

"The county is trying to be responsive and to solve this problem permanently," Winders said. "In order for law enforcement to fight crime effectively, we need many different tools. A nuisance action is a powerful tool we can use to eliminate problem establishments in Wayne County when traditional law-enforcement methods won't work."

The property is owned by William Edward Zehnder and operated by Andy Howard, officials said.

A sheriff's official said Howard denied the allegations during an interview with a Raleigh television station. He said his women employees dance only for customers.

Vickory said Winders had notified Zehnder more than a year ago that illegal activities were occurring on his property.

"He failed to address our concerns," the district attorney said. "This action is a last resort for us."

Goldsboro police and the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division assisted the Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

The public nuisance abatement case is the second undertaken by the District Attorney's Office in Wayne County. In 2002, a similar action shut down a bar in Goldsboro after complaints about numerous law violations. The C&L Restaurant and Lounge at 614 N. John St. was the site of two unsolved fatal shootings and other aggravated assaults.