This scenario repeated itself again this weekend when IMPD invited Indianapolis Star reporter Jill Disis to follow them along on a planned raid on an after hours' club on Hovey Street tied to recent criminal activity where officers had been working undercover for months. Naturally, someone with knowledge of the planned raid tipped off the operators in advance and the party was over by the time police arrived. Actually, police waited until 4 a.m. to conduct the raid so they obviously weren't too interested in breaking up the party while it was in full swing. The police got lucky when a few stragglers tipped them off to another after hours' location, one that could not have been unknown to IMPD.
By the time the police sergeant pulled up to the large warehouse on North Hovey Street around 4 a.m. Sunday, he already knew his opportunity was gone.
The building, which looks out of place in this otherwise residential Near-Northside neighborhood, had been teeming with people last weekend. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers had found hundreds of people gambling illegally, smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol, even though the warehouse doesn't have a liquor license.
In fact, police had been keeping an eye on the place for a while.
In April, officers were called to the building on reports of gunshots. Earlier this month, two women told police someone hit them with brass knuckles and stole their purses.
Last week, a 28-year-old woman was shot and critically injured there.
Those activities had led Sgt. Bill Carter, who works with IMPD's Nuisance and Abatement unit, to file an order to have the building in the 3400 block of North Hovey Street — called the After Party — closed.
Maybe last week's shooting scared patrons off, Carter speculated. Maybe they somehow found out about IMPD's plans.
As Carter taped his shut-down notice to the building's front door, only a few people remained scattered outside.
As luck would have it, the stragglers outside the After Party were all Carter needed to salvage the otherwise disappointing situation.
Thanks to information they provided, what could have been a failed raid turned into a double raid, as a team of IMPD officers swept two Northside "after hours" clubs early Sunday.
Officers closed down the Hovey Street location and busted a second party two miles away at a breakfast joint that officers say played host to a slew of illegal activities, including alcohol consumption, gambling and exotic dancing.
Carter said the stragglers outside the After Party told him the party planned for Hovey Street had moved to Big Fella's Restaurant at Fairfield and North College avenues . . .
According to Sgt. Carter, police found liquor being sold at Big Fella's without a license, women in G-strings circulating among the patrons, private rooms with stripper poles and rooms with illegal gambling devices. The owner of Big Fella's, Denise McFadden, tried to get a liquor license earlier this year according to story, but neighborhood opposition led the owner to withdraw her application. Here's the kicker. IMPD made no arrests at either location. "Police said that's because the original SWAT team set up for the Hovey Street raid had been disbanded, and only three officers were on hand at Big Fella's," Disis writes. "Police did not want to try to control the crowd and issue citations with so few officers on the scene." Whatever. Sgt.Carter tells Disis that he will ask city attorneys for help in getting a restraining order to close Big Fella's.
It's worth noting that Big Fella's is located within the Mid-North TIF area. It's actually a blighted area within the newly-created TIF district that Councilor John Barth or his biggest cheerleader, Star political columnist Matt Tully, could give a hoot about. Instead, our corrupt politicians' number one priority was providing millions of your tax dollars to a politically-connected developer for a mixed use project in booming Broad Ripple Village that includes a Whole Foods grocery store. Remember, TIFs have nothing to do with revitalizing economically depressed areas in this city; they're all about finding a source of funding to funnel public tax dollars into the hands of politically-connected developers. Don't believe the BS the media in this town feeds you.