Oak Beach Residents Say Property Values Decreasing After Bodies Found
NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Locals from Oak Beach complain property values are plummeting after officials found five bodies in the area and announced that a possible serial killer is on the loose.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Oak Beach resident fears the area is known as a dumping ground
Police are planning a new full-scale search for more possible bodies and clues beginning Monday.
Among the Oak Beach houses up for sale is the one apparently visited by Jersey City prostitute Shannan Gilbert, who disappeared last May.
Joseph Brewer, who officials said contacted Gilbert through Craigslist, had his Oak Beach home searched and car seized during the investigation.
“I’m innocent in this case, so I have truth on my side,” Brewer told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera in December. “I have no friends other than truth.”
“My prayers go out to the family,” Brewer said on January 24. Asked if he felt vindicated, he responded: “No. I am not a victim.”
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall gets a real estate agent’s opinion
Gus Coletti, the former president of the Local Homeowner’s Association, said Brewer’s house is on the market for half of its estimated value. He said the home was worth $850,000 two years ago.
About a dozen other homes are now listed for sale in the area.
“Nothing has been selling,” Coletti said. “Right now we’re known as the dumping ground.”
Not everyone thinks Oak Beach is in a real estate slump. Bettie Mienel, a real estate agent at Laffey Fine Homes, insists beach front homes are always in demand.
“The people that were killed and left there were not from that area and hopefully whoever is doing it isn’t from that area so I don’t think this has anything at all to do with real estate,” Mienel said.
Coletti was one of the last people to see Gilbert alive. He had told authorities a woman, believed to be Gilbert, came to his door around 4:45 a.m. on May 1 pleading for help.
Coletti said he attempted to call police before the woman fled.
Moments later, an unidentified man in a sport utility vehicle drove past the house and said he was looking for the woman, but then took off. Neither the woman nor the man was seen by the neighbor again.
The search for Gilbert led police to the area where four bodies, wrapped in burlap, were discovered by cadaver-sniffing dogs last December.
More remains were found Tuesday off Ocean Parkway, west of Cedar Beach, about a mile from where the other bodies were found. Police did not say whether they had identified the latest victim, gender, or whether the death is connected to the others.
The four victims found in the area last year have been identified as: 24-year-old Melissa Barthelemy of Buffalo, 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes of Connecticut, 27-year-old Amber Lynn Costello of North Babylon, Long Island and 22-year-old Megan Waterman of Scarborough, Maine.
Gilbert is still missing.