Man charged with running illegal bar
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Aug 26, 2012 | 8207 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston Police and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control team raided a home on Thomas Avenue Sunday. ABC agents charged Cledus Ferrell, 36 (in T-shirt and white cap, fourth from right above), of Anniston with operating without a liquor license. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
Anniston Police and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control team raided a home on Thomas Avenue Sunday. ABC agents charged Cledus Ferrell, 36 (in T-shirt and white cap, fourth from right above), of Anniston with operating without a liquor license. (Anniston Star photo by Bill Wilson)
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Anniston police and Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board agents led a raid on a home in an Anniston neighborhood Sunday evening and charged a man with a running a speakeasy-style saloon from his backyard.

ABC agents charged Cledus Ferrell, 36, of Anniston with operating without a liquor license after discovering a bar just behind a house at 2137 Thomas Ave.

Police and ABC agents swarmed the house and outbuilding around 6 p.m. Two patrons were inside at the time, according to ABC agent Stan Ray, but they were not charged.

Although the outbuilding on the property looked like a storage shed, the scene behind the doors marked with a “No Trespassing” sign looked like an authentic bar, complete with a battered red-felt pool table, posters, snapshots and chairs lining crimson-colored walls, Christmas lights and television showing sports highlights.

And, of course, alcohol.

“It’s almost like the real thing, except the license,” said Anniston police Capt. Shane Denham.

Ray said Ferrell cooperated with police during the raid, and said he promised this would be the end of the business. Ferrell was not taken to jail on the charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Denham said setups that serve alcohol without a license are surprisingly common.

“They’re everywhere,” Denham said. “They’re happening all the time.”

The problem with the illegal establishments, Denham said, is the noise and disturbance they create in the neighborhood, noting if there hadn’t been complaints about the operation, police would have never known about it.

Ray said he hoped “this is a nice ending to a problem in the neighborhood.”

Thomas Avenue lies one block over from Rocky Hollow, where residents in a meeting recently had earnest questions for police and other city leaders about how crime can be reduced in their neighborhood.

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