Bronson busted

Two Huron County men face initial appearances in Norwalk Municipal Court in connection with state authorities raiding the Bronson Norwalk Conservation Club, a social club which failed to have an alcohol license. "We can't comment on the amount of people there, because we don't keep track of that, but we did issue two summonses," said Scott Pohlman, deputy director of the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU).
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

Two Huron County men face initial appearances in Norwalk Municipal Court in connection with state authorities raiding the Bronson Norwalk Conservation Club, a social club which failed to have an alcohol license.

"We can't comment on the amount of people there, because we don't keep track of that, but we did issue two summonses," said Scott Pohlman, deputy director of the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU).

Norwalk resident Joe Hyre, 44, of 57 E. League St., was charged with illegal sales of liquor, a first-degree misdemeanor, in connection with the Feb. 8 incident. He is scheduled to appear in court March 5.

Michael E. Brown, 52, of 641 Exchange Road, New London, was charged with being the keeper of a place selling alcohol illegally, an unclassified misdemeanor. His court date is Monday.

"He was in charge of the premises when we executed the search warrant," Pohlman said.

Prior to the Feb. 8 raid, OIU authorities in the Cleveland district office received two anonymous complaints about Bronson Norwalk Conservation Club selling alcohol without a license, Pohlman said.

Officers then contacted the department of commerce to determine if the establishment had a permit.

"In the past they have had temporary permits ... but never a regular permit," Pohlman said.

OIU authorities seized the following items as evidence: two empty kegs, one partially full keg, about 1,500 cans and bottles of alcohol, liquor and beer as well more than $135 found in the cash register. Pohlman said the amount of seized evidence, compared to the rest of the state, was a "little below average."

Neither Brown nor Hyre were available for comment.

The fate of the social club is up to its members.

"As long as they are selling alcohol legally, we don't have a say in its future. As long we don't have any more complaints, we won't be back," Pohlman said.

Huron County, in addition to Erie and Lorain counties, is covered by the Cleveland district of OIU, which investigates suspected violations of liquor and tobacco laws, narcotics, prostitution and gambling.

The OIU Web site says its officers are "agents who are fully-certified undercover, plain-clothed peace officers."

The agency is part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.