Police: Warehouse had illegal gambling, exotic dancing

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department issued a search warrant to shut down a building known for illegal activity.

The warehouse building, located in the 3400 block of North Hovey Street, was empty when officers arrived on early Sunday morning.

Police said people inside the building were involved in illegal gambling, after hours drinking and exotic dancing.

The location was also in the same area where two homicides were reported. One of those shootings happened just Monday, when a woman was shot in the head.

In February, two others were killed, both victims were found near the warehouse building.

“It was a nuisance,” described one neighbor who didn’t want to reveal his identity.

The nuisance wasn’t just typical party noise. Neighbors said people who couldn’t get into the party would get reckless, firing off gunshots up and down the street.

“When they fired, they fired 8, 9, 10 shots at a time,” he said.

Those problems gave IMPD a reason to visit a party on their own last month, undercover.

“We put officers inside and found lots of gambling, lots of alcohol, and lots of marijuana consumption inside the location,” said Sgt. William Carter, nuisance abatement officer with IMPD.

Sgt. Carter obtained a search warrant and went to the warehouse around 4:00 a.m. Sunday with about 40 officers. However, when they arrived, the building was empty.

“I don’t know if they were tipped off, if they just eventually assumed we’d be coming, but there was an individual there telling everybody ‘hey, you know they’re closed but the new location,’” Sgt. Carter said.

Detectives found out the party moved to Big Fella’s Restaurant in the 3400 block of North College Avenue.

Police said patrons paid a person $10 near the restaurant’s kitchen, then were instructed to walk up a set stairs to the second floor.

Sgt. Carter was working with only one more officer after sending the majority of them home for the night.

“Once we got upstairs, found a bar, found professional gambling tables which you know I have not really seen since I’ve been doing this job, but these were professional tables. And then several women that were wearing g-strings and undergarments that were performing in the middle of the room,” he said.

Sgt. Carter said the party cleared out once people realized police were inside. Money from illegal gambling and alcohol sales was left behind and confiscated.

Sgt. Carter said shutting down the parties doesn’t just stop the illegal activities happening inside, but it shuts downs the criminal activity that accompanies it. He said people who leave the events are prone to getting robbed because criminals know gambling is happening.

Big Fella’s Restaurant does not have a permit to hold live entertainment or other activities that were going on inside the establishment.

Police have not made any arrests as of Sunday afternoon.

The warehouse is only temporarily closed. Sgt. Carter said it’s possible IMPD’s attorney will seek to temporarily close the restaurant where they busted the party.

They’re still trying to find the ring leader for the parties and get in contact with the restaurant owner.

The investigation is ongoing.

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