Reflections restaurant closed; state police investigate liquor sales

A downtown Erie business building that in recent years was the site of reported assaults and shootings has once again drawn the attention of law enforcement.

Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement on Wednesday morning served a search warrant at 1015 State St., currently housing an eating establishment known as Reflections, in an investigation into the alleged unlawful sale of alcohol at the location.

The resulting search led to the building being declared uninhabitable and off-limits by Erie code enforcement officials. It was the second time in a little more than a year that 1015 State St. was posted as such by the city.

A number of people are also facing possible criminal charges related to alleged unlicensed alcohol sales, according to state police.

No one associated with Reflections could be immediately reached for comment Friday at a phone number and email address listed on the business’s Facebook page.

State police were investigating complaints about possible alcohol sales without a license, and that ultimately led to the search of 1015 State St., Sgt. Christopher Balcik, the LCE bureau’s district commander in Erie, said Thursday afternoon.

No one was in the establishment at the time of the search, Balcik said. Evidence was collected in the search, he said.

The evidence included bottles of tequila, vodka, rum and other alcohol, a roll of drink tickets, and a surveillance system, according to information on an inventory list of seized property that state police returned with the search warrant.

City of Erie code enforcement officials who took part in Wednesday’s search posted the property as uninhabitable on Wednesday. Two orange placards placed on the building’s front door list the property as an unlawful structure and as uninhabitable, and bar anyone from using or occupying the building.

No trespassing signs were also hanging on the front of the building Friday morning.

Code enforcement officials conducted a safety inspection of the space, examining the condition of the structure and documenting violations of zoning rules, said Andy Zimmerman, the city’s manager of code enforcement. Officials posted 1015 State St. as uninhabitable because of the code violations they found, and zoning issues related to the location are being reviewed by the city Solicitor’s Office, Zimmerman said.

Erie police assisted the state police, who asked for two patrol officers to come to the location on Wednesday morning to assist in entering and clearing the business during the search, Deputy Chief William Marucci said.

Details outlined in search warrant

According to information outlined in the search warrant state police served on 1015 State St., a city zoning official received an email in January 2023 from a lawyer representing a person who wanted to open a business there, with plans to use the upstairs as a 21-and-over establishment with alcohol and the downstairs as an establishment for patrons 18 and over without alcohol.

The person who wanted to open the business, who did not have a liquor license, reportedly wanted to purchase alcohol and pass it out for free, but would collect an entrance fee, the state police investigator wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed with the search warrant.

According to state police, an emailed response was sent to the lawyer stating that the proposed means of operation would be considered illegal sales of alcohol, due to the charging of an entrance fee and the providing of alcohol that would not be truly free.

Undercover officers went to 1015 State St. in February 2023 and more recently on May 5 and June 1. They paid an entry fee during each visit, went to the upstairs area of the establishment and were provided alcoholic drinks. The agents paid $3 for each drink they obtained during the May 5 and June 1 visits, investigators wrote in the affidavit.

State police wrote that they confirmed on Tuesday with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that 1015 State St. and people involved in the business do not have a valid liquor license and don’t have authority to sell alcohol in Pennsylvania, according to information in the affidavit.

State police wrote in a news release issued following Wednesday’s search that criminal charges were pending on multiple people who were identified in the case. No charges had been filed as of Friday morning.

According to Zimmerman and his staff, Reflections is licensed by the city as an eating and drinking establishment and obtained a food license.

The owner of 1015 State St. is listed in Erie County assessment records as Crow LLC, of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Prior problems

The space at 1015 State St. housed a nightclub known as Rockstarz when, in April 2021, Erie police said two men were attacked by nine others and were bludgeoned, stomped, stabbed and kicked. One of the victims was stabbed seven times and suffered a punctured lung, according to authorities.

The nine suspects were all charged and have been sentenced in the case.

More: Last of 9 suspects sentenced in 2021 brawl, stabbings at former downtown Erie nightclub

In April 2023, Erie police investigated two shootings at or around a new business operating at 1015 State Street, the Super Chicken Lounge.

In the first incident, a 21-year-old woman was shot in the leg after she reportedly intervened in a fight that had broken out between some females near the Super Chicken, according to police. The man accused of shooting the woman is facing aggravated assault and other charges as his case advances in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

Seven days after that shooting, Erie police were sent to the Super Chicken to investigate an assault and shots-fired report at the establishment. Police charged a man with pistol-whipping another person and firing gunshots during an altercation inside the business. He is awaiting trial on attempted homicide and other charges.

More: State Street business reportedly tied to shootings shuttered by city over zoning violation

Shortly after the second shooting, the city ordered the Super Chicken closed and posted the space as off-limits after officials said they learned that alcohol was being served in the building without having the necessary approval to operate a bottle club there.

Contact Tim Hahn at [email protected]. Follow him on X @ETNhahn

Source link

Reflections restaurant closed; state police investigate liquor sales #Reflections #restaurant #closed #state #police #investigate #liquor #sales

Source link Google News

Source Link:

Reflections restaurant closed; state police investigate liquor sales:

eNewspaper: It’s like the paper, only paperless.Get a replica of the paper on your digital doorstep …