Undercover Denver police officers weren’t quite fooled this summer by an “after hours club” on Welton Street that was taking donations in exchange for alcohol.
Three men were arrested in late July on suspicion of illegally selling alcohol in a property near the corner of Welton and 29th streets, according to the Denver Police Department. The club at 2852 Welton St. has been a sore spot for those trying to make the Welton corridor more attractive to residents and shoppers.
“The after hour club activity has caused gang members to congregate across the street in the RTD parking lot at 29th & Welton St. … There have been four shootings reported from the parking lot,” The Five Points Business District told readers of its September newsletter.
— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) July 22, 2016
To prevent crime in the area, Denver police have established a visible police presence near the club, especially in the early morning hours, police spokesman Doug Schepman said.
On July 29, police conducted an undercover operation at the club where they arrested three men in their 30s — David Crockett, Robert Hutchinson and Nicholas Williams — on suspicion of selling alcohol without a license. The cases against Hutchinson and Williams are still pending. Court records don’t show any pending charges against Crockett.
“When the officers did the undercover action, they went to the front door and were told they had to pay $10 per person to get in,” said Melissa Drazen-Smith, assistant director of prosecution in the Denver City Attorney’s Office.
When the officers ordered two beers, “Mr. Crockett said there’s no set amount, but you should give a donation,” Drazen-Smith said.
Drazen-Smith said the same group was previously “busted” selling alcohol a block away at 2745 Welton St. in a property they called Wardenclyffe.
Williams rented 2852 Welton St. from Demetri Fefes, the president of Source Properties Inc.
“The tenant is getting evicted Sept. 9 for substantial violation. The lease I had with him was for use of the property as an office which he stated was his only intention,” Fefes told Denverite in an email.
The Denver City Attorney’s Office is filing a nuisance abatement action against Fefe’s property. Basically, the landlord needs to take care of the code violations at his property or the city can impose penalties, including padlocking the building for up to two years.
It will probably be enough to have Williams, Crockett and Hutchinson leave, Drazen-Smith said. But the city is currently negotiating with the property owner.