INDIANAPOLIS, In, (Sept 14, 2014) -- Seventy-four people were cited, six of them arrested on outstanding warrants, during a pre-dawn raid at a north side after-hours club.
The sign on the building in the 900 block of East 30th Street read “BW Thrift Shop,” but the location was actually a front for a bootlegging and gambling operation that really didn’t start its day until all of the city’s legal businesses finished their night.
“This location opens after 3 a.m. when the other bars close down,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Bill Carter who led the raid. “It's disguised as a thrift store but obviously there’s no clothes in there. There’s nothing in there to sell. It’s a front, I guess you would call it, but, again, there are no permits for anything here at this business.”
While dozens were issued summons for visiting a common nuisance, a handful were arrested and transported to the Arrestee Processing Center.
Police confiscated marijuana, cocaine, gambling paraphernalia, alcohol and two guns, one which was reported stolen.
Officers have targeted this location and its operator before.
In 2008, two children were assaulted at that site during a teen birthday party. A month later investigators conducted a bootlegging raid.
In 2009, the operator was cited for lack of a dance hall permit. That was followed by a 2012 alcohol license arrest.
In July 2014, the operator was ticketed for gambling, alcohol and tax violations.
Last month bootlegging, gambling and marijuana violations were listed in a raid that the bartender treated as the cost of doing business.
“The bartender asked if they were police officers then told them the drinks were on the house,” Carter wrote in his probable cause affidavit seeking a search warrant.
Carter said he shut down another of the operator’s locations on North Hovey Street and North Central Avenue in June where assaults have previously occurred.
“This is the operation that was operating out of Big Fella’s. They left Big Fella’s and just relocated here.”
Detectives say after-hours clubs are a hazard to their patrons and a nuisance to communities as the pre-dawn revelers often clog side streets with vehicles and keep neighbors awake with noise.
The owner of the building faces a court date later this month to answer charges from the early morning raid.