WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The License Commission voted last night to schedule a violation hearing for Ryan’s Package Store on Franklin Street which recently completed a six-day suspension for selling alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21.
The city’s License Commission oversees all establishments which serve alcoholic beverages, either for on-premises consumption, such as in restaurants and bars, or to be taken out at package stores. One of the major components of that oversight is to ensure “compliance with all laws of the Commonwealth.”
The commission was also notified last night by the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) that it has scheduled a hearing on Oct. 7 pertaining to an ABCC sting which the package store failed.
The violation hearing was slated because of a police investigation of incidents of larceny reported by a 67-year-old Washington Street resident who reported jewelry was missing and who suspected that the property was taken by a Clark Street resident who was a guest on several occasions.
Police investigators began looking for the guest and checking with local businesses involved in the resale of jewelry. Much of the stolen property was recovered at a local jewelry store where documentation directly linked the suspect to the stolen jewelry.
The guest, who was now officially a suspect, was located and admitted to taking jewelry which he sold on the street or pawned at local businesses. The suspect said that he had exchanged some of the jewelry for alcoholic beverages at Ryan’s Package store. Detectives went to the store where the manager surrendered a small white box containing 20 rings, later identified by the victim as being some of her property. The property was documented and later returned to the victim.
The store manager said he did question the suspect about his possession of the rings and was told by the suspect that he cleaned property and that his boss allowed him to keep whatever he found.
The License Commission is investigating incidents of receiving stolen property in lieu of cash payment for the alcoholic goods. The violation hearing is set for Sept. 8. The Commission will also conduct an information hearing that night in which Ryan’s will be questioned about activity conducted during its six-day license suspension which was enforced on July 7, 8, 9, and then on 14, 15, and 16.
City police conducted compliance checks and reported that the store, which was allowed to remain open in the area of its check-cashing business, was involved in the sale of lottery tickets and tobacco products.
The License Commission has suspended the licenses of package stores in the past, requiring them to lock their doors during the suspension and put a notice on the front door, but allowed Ryan’s to remain open for the check-cashing service. A plastic construction fence was erected to allow access only to the check-cashing area of the store located at the sales counter.
The manager said he contacted the state Lottery Commission and was told that the License Commission does not have the authority to suspend lottery sales. The License Commission slated the informational hearing to further discuss that issue.
Media Credit: The Westfield News