Troopers raid popular bars for unlicensed beers
IT WAS ELIOT NESS and the Untouchables, as played by the Keystone Kops.
More than a dozen armed State Police officers conducted simultaneous raids last week on three popular Philadelphia bars known for their wide beer selections. The cops confiscated hundreds of bottles of expensive ales and lagers, now in State Police custody at an undisclosed location.
The alleged offense: Although the bar owners had bought the beer legally from licensed Pennsylvania distributors and had paid all the necessary taxes, the police claimed that nobody had registered the precise names of the beers with the state Liquor Control Board - a process that requires the brewers or their importers to pay a $75 registration fee for each product they want to sell in Pennsylvania.
Based on a complaint from someone the State Police refuse to identify [lousy snitch!], three teams of officers [pulled off of what regular duty?] converged last Thursday on the three bars, run by Leigh Maida and her husband, Brendan Hartranft. Checking their inventories against the state’s official list of more than 2,800 brands, the cops seized four kegs and 317 bottles, totaling 60.9 gallons of beer, according to police calculations.
In fact, according to Maida, more than half the beer removed by the State Police was properly registered - but the cops couldn’t find it on their lists because of “clerical errors” or “blatant ineptitude” between the police and the Liquor Control Board, with whom the officers were conferring by telephone.
Does PA need the $75 fee that badly? How does that compare to the cost of the raids?
Sounds more like something my own great state of NY would pull but I guess things are tough all over. Right now they want to pass a soda tax on the pretence of fighting childhood obesity. They should at least be honest enough to say, “We know the tax isn’t going to stop anybody from buying a soda, but we’re broke and grasping at every loose nickel in your pocket.”