Police targeting after-hours clubs in Indianapolis

Indianapolis police Saturday night started a targeted effort to curb violence in the city - targeting illegal after-hours clubs and bars.

This year's spike in the city's murder rate helped spark two police raids overnight, one at a warehouse in the 3400 block of Hovey Street and the other at a College Avenue restaurant. Both were illegal, unlicensed after-hours clubs, according to police.

"Don't be a prisoner in your house. When these places open up, they are there at the mercy of these locations. That's not the way the city... we don't want that," said IMPD Sgt. Bill Carter.

So overnight, IMPD's nuisance abatement team executed search warrants. First at the Hovey Street warehouse; No party was going on but they found someone helpful outside.

"He asked if I was looking for the after-hours location. I said, 'Of course we are'," recalled Sgt. Carter. "He directed us where to go, almost like he was there to direct people where to go to the new location."

As police went in, the place was full.

"They all just started running for the entrance," said Sgt. Carter.

Inside Big Fella's, police said they found an illegal gambling room and a well-stocked bar despite the business not having a liquor license. Last week, an ad on social media promoted a party at Big Fella's inviting 2,000 people.

When police went in overnight, more than 100 people were in one room.

"Very cramped, four or five girls in g-strings performing," said Sgt. Carter. "Lots of marijuana being smoked."

Police want after-hours club operators and patrons to get the message: They're watching.

"If you're a patron at these locations," said Sgt. Carter, "number one: your life is at mercy because we've had so much violence, and you're looking at criminal charges."