Authorities shut down Ellerbe businesses for alcohol violations

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By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Law enforcement agencies worked this weekend to shut down two businesses in Ellerbe for possessing and serving alcohol without a license.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff's Office A Richmond County sheriff's deputy seals up D's Place, the owner of which is charged with illegal possession and sales of alcohol.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy seals up D’s Place, the owner of which is charged with illegal possession and sales of alcohol.

Personnel from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement late Saturday night executed warrants at D’s Place, 4024 Main St., and a second business at 2052 Main St. A confidential informant was able to purchase beer or spirits from both locations, authorities said.

Police seized liquor, beer and spirits valued at $1,277 from D’s Place, owned by Derious Junior Covington. Covington was charged with possession and selling of alcoholic beverages without a permit, a misdemeanor, and unlawfully possessing or consuming wine, spirituous liquor or mixed beverages

On its business and privilege license issued by the town of Ellerbe, the business was to be operated as a game room with pool tables and video game consoles.

At 2052 Main St., Tyrea Gilmore was listed as owner of Google Cafe, an Internet cafe in which customers were to bring their laptops and connect to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network. Authorized seized $159 worth of malt beverage from the cafe. Gilmore was charged with possession and selling of alcoholic beverages without a permit, a misdemeanor.

As of Thursday, both businesses were shut down.

“I have actually got those privilege licenses in my hands now,” said Rosann Gerald, tax collector for the town of Ellerbe. “They have to come before the board in the November meeting to get these reinstated.”

Gerald and Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry said town officials are consulting with Bill Webb, town attorney, on the matter.

“We’ve never had this happen before,” Gerald said.

Berry said the town can’t afford to lose two businesses, but that they must operate in a legal manner.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff's Office A deputy locks up Google Cafe on Main Street after an undercover operation revealed alleged violations of alcohol possession and sales.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
A deputy locks up Google Cafe on Main Street after an undercover operation revealed alleged violations of alcohol possession and sales.

“From the tax standpoint, we need to keep ’em open,” Berry said, but “they need to be operating legally in order to stay open.”

Berry said he believes council members could reinstate the business licenses and offer strict guidelines as to the operation of each.

“We’re talking with the city attorney to see exactly where we stand, what we can do,” Berry said. “I would love to have them open back up if it was going to be a legitimate game room (and) Internet cafe.”

He said the town would be without water and sewer tax revenue as well as privilege license fees without it.

“From an income standpoint, we do need somebody in these buildings,” Berry said.

However, there is no room for illegal operations in Ellerbe.

“We do not need that in this city,” Berry said. “I’m curious to see what they’re going to have to say.”

Berry said Gilmore has already requested to speak at the Nov. 3 meeting. Covington has until Oct. 29 to make the same request.

Berry stressed that the police operation was “nothing personal … just a law.”

“We have to keep the community safe,” he said. “We don’t need the people consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car.”

The next public meeting for the Ellerbe mayor and Town Council is set for 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3.

Filed in: Business, Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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