Police shut down planned nightclub

 

Officer Adam Bailey and Captain John Durham stand guard as the restaurant is secured. | Photos: Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO — It could be last call for a Winnsboro restaurant that apparently had plans to operate as a nightclub, according to police records.

Town police have temporarily shut down Winnsboro Bar and Grill, in the 100 block of North Congress Street, which previously operated as a barbecue restaurant.

More recently, though, the business started promoting a large nighttime grand opening party, prompting citizen complaints to police, said Winnsboro Police Chief John Seibles.

WDPS Investigator Michael Carroll posts a notice of suspension on the front door of the former Winnsboro Bar & Grill in downtown Winnsboro

“When the community is concerned about something, naturally I’m already concerned,” he said.

Seibles said the department also learned of the party plans through social media, leading police on Friday to respond to the business. A notice of suspension was placed on the door Friday morning.

“The purpose of the voiding of the business license is because the license was obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, a false or misleading statement, evasion or suppression of a material fact in the license application,” the notice states.

A hearing concerning the suspension has been scheduled for April 16 at the Winnsboro Town Council meeting, the notice continues.

According to a police report, Winnsboro Bar and Grill stated on its business license application that alcohol would not be served, nor would coin operated machines be located on the property.

Police, however, said the opposite was true.

“Upon visiting the business, I could clearly see open bottles of alcohol in the business as well as coin operated pool tables,” a Winnsboro police report stated.

Images posted to the business’ Facebook page also display large quantities of liquor bottles as well as two pool tables.

The Winnsboro police report identifies James Randolph as the person opening the Winnsboro club.

“The business is clearly being advertised as a night club and had fraudulently obtained a business license as a grill,” WDPD investigator Michael Carroll stated in the police report. “I checked the public Facebook section for Mr. Randolph and did locate several posts and videos announcing a night club and alcohol to be consumed on the property.”

Police contacted the property owner, who told investigators that he had no idea this was occurring at the business. He asked law enforcement to remain on site for his safety while he had the locks changed, the report said.

Randolph was the proprietor of the former Kandyland nightclub in Columbia that the Richland County Sheriff’s Office shut down a few months ago, the report continues.

Kandyland had been operating as an adult entertainment venue, according to media reports. In December 2018, a shooting death occurred there, and remains one of four unsolved murders from 2018.

Seibles said Winnsboro police have not received any indications that the Winnsboro nightspot planned to operate as an adult entertainment establishment. Seibles also said police have not received any other criminal complaints about the business. He said he wants things to stay that way.

“It seems to me like it [the club] was targeting a young crowd of people,” Seibles said. “It was put out as a humongous party and along with that comes a lot of problems. Naturally we’ve got to be proactive.”