ELYRIA – The Toy Box Night Club, a Broad Street business that lost its liquor license after Elyria police fought its renewal because of problems in the neighborhood, was found to be serving alcohol early Friday, police said.
Four people are facing charges as a result, including David Caver, 51, the owner of the business at 581 Broad St., who was cited for owning a business that served liquor without a license. Also charged were: Tonya Crosby, 39, for selling liquor without a license, Brandi Crosby, 20, for obstructing official business and Anthony Patterson, 27, who was picked up on an outstanding warrant.
All four were present at the club early Friday when Elyria police and the Ohio Investigative Division, which is part of the liquor control board, launched an undercover operation to determine whether the club was selling liquor illegally.
Elyria Police Capt. Christopher Costantino said the investigation began around a month ago when Elyria police started receiving tips saying the club was still serving liquor despite having their license revoked in 2011.
Elyria police and the Ohio Investigative Division together worked to determine if the tips were true.
“We weren’t sure when (the club) was open,” said Greg Croft, agent in charge of the Cleveland district of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, explaining why it took a month for police to issue a search warrant.
However, after watching the club for weeks, police were able to determine that the club was generally open late on Thursday nights.
“We kept an eye on things,” Costantino said.
At 12:45 a.m. Friday, undercover Elyria officers went into the club and bought liquor, Costantino said. There were about 30 to 40 people in the club at the time.
When officers left, they had enough to secure a warrant from Elyria Municipal Court to arrest the people they say illegally sold alcohol. Police were back at the club at 1:48 a.m. to issue the warrants.
In addition to the four primary suspects, police served three additional citations while at the club. Anthony Smith, 24, Niles Thompson, 27, and Clayton M. Shannon, 33, all were charged for possession of marijuana. All three were customers at the club.
The Toy Box Night Club has been a subject of police investigations multiple times since 2010. In March 2011, the club’s liquor license was revoked and the club was forced to close. It apparently reopened as a private club sometime after that, claiming it didn’t serve liquor.
“Multiple problems (around Elyria) have started at the Toy Box,” Costantino said. One such incident occurred on May 8, 2010 when three teenagers were shot inside the club.
Costantino added that Elyria police are working on a request to shut the club down for good.
Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.