A Northwest Florida business owner has placed a sign in front of his business saying illegal activity is now welcome in Malone.
Grocery Store Owner Ben White says he wants to draw attention that the Malone City Council didn't renew a deputy coverage contract and white now feels the town is vulnerable to criminals.
The sign in front of the Malone IGA grocery store reads, "Speeders, drug dealers, thieves, the Malone Town Council welcomes you".
The store's Owner Ben White put up the sign because the town didn't renew a contract with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, "For a full time deputy, due to a man being shot in my store several years-ago,” he explained.
One city councilman says it's simply unfair of White. Freddie Lee Jones says the small town simply couldn't afford paying a deputy's full time services. "With the high prices he has at the IGA, let him hire a security guard. It makes the people think we don't have police protection and we do," he said.
Being just a few miles from Alabama and Georgia, residents we spoke with said they would like to have a permanent police presence.
"We are isolated” said Malone Resident Ramona MacArthur. “It takes a while if something happens. I like to see police here."
Earl Stephens, another Malone resident said, "This store here has been robbed three-times and there are plenty of drugs around here."
"We can get the help that they need. There’s drugs for one thing, yes, I believe there's a drug problem what I understand," said Malone Resident Roland Owens.
City officials say it's a done deal and Malone receives protection from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Florida Highway Patrol.
Store Owner Ben White says Malone is particularly vulnerable to criminals because it sits along the rural Alabama Georgia Stateline.