Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 12, 2012

Excise alleges violations at The Social

Underage girls arrested at bar last month

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

Kokomo — Indiana State Excise Police have cited The Social Experience bar for liquor law violations in the wake of two underage drinking arrests last month.

The bar’s owners are facing three counts of allowing a minor to loiter and three counts of sale or furnishing alcohol to a minor, Indiana State Excise Police spokesman Cpl. Travis Thickstun said.

Kokomo police arrested two 16-year-old girls around 3 a.m. Sept. 9, after both girls were found drinking inside the nightclub, located at 3040 S. Lafountain St.

Shortly after the arrests, Major Brian Seldon said both girls were over the legal limit for driving and were reported to police by club employees.

Bar manager Kyle Gibson said he believes both girls were let into the bar through a side door by one of their friends.

Seldon said the official police report doesn’t address how the girls got inside the bar. He said both girls admitted they had been drinking inside the bar.

“Maybe they need to check IDs more thoroughly. They need to check into it if they have 16-year-olds getting in,” Seldon said. “That does raise a red flag.”

Gibson said the bar routinely cooperates with KPD and excise, and said security “usually keeps pretty good tabs” on the front door.

According to Thickstun, The Social has been the subject of several complaints in the past couple of years, but until the state agency’s Sept. 29 decision to charge the bar with license violations, excise investigators hadn’t found anything actionable.

Thickstun said excise received a complaint in November 2011, alleging sale of alcohol to minors and allowing minors to loiter at the Social Experience. It was investigated with no violations found.

The same complaints were investigated in March, also with no violations found.

In all, excise police visited the bar on five separate occasions in response to those complaints, he said.

“I think we spend more effort than about any bar in Kokomo to try to prevent that kind of thing,” bar owner Dustin Ogle said. “I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. ... it’s good to know they were caught, hopefully they’ll learn a lesson.”

Thickstun said Thursday that the officers at the Crawfordsville district office haven’t yet completed the report connected with The Social. No further details were available Thursday on the excise violations.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.