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Tiki Bob's closing, owner calls behavior at bar 'abhorrent'

"Criminals are no longer held accountable for their actions and I refuse to be the scapegoat for the violent crime plaguing [Indianapolis]," wrote Jason Stellema.

INDIANAPOLIS — For more than two decades Tiki Bob's Cantina has been one of the many places in downtown Indianapolis for nightlife. The owners have reportedly decided to shut it down.

One of the owners shared a Facebook post about the decision to close.

"Sadly, I no longer have the desire to be deemed responsible for the abhorrent behavior of a minute segment of our society that has no respect for themselves or others. After serving 100,000 customers per year we've found it only takes a handful of bad actors to destroy the reputation and vitality of a business. Criminals are no longer held accountable for their actions and I refuse to be the scapegoat for the violent crime plaguing the beautiful city of Indianapolis any longer," wrote Jason Stellema.

In 2022, Stellema went before the Alcoholic Beverage Board to renew their license.

IMPD led a push to revoke that license after officers and community leaders testified about fights, shootings, sexual assaults and highly intoxicated customers creating large, unruly crowds on South Meridian Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Tiki Bob's license was renewed for one year until March 2023 and given that time to make changes.

"Since that time IMPD has conducted at least one investigation where we sent a vice detective in with an underage female. They were able to get into the bar with no issues," said IMPD Captain Christopher Boomershine.

Boomershine said there were more incidents.

"We've had two underage females arrested in November 2022 that were in the bar and this past weekend we had an incident where a 17-year-old male and a 19-year-old male were allegedly in the bar," said Boomershine.

Boomershine said those two teens were arrested on other charges.

He also said Tiki Bob's chose to close and put the license into escrow.

"Escrow means the license is not currently being used, but it can be taken back out when they apply for a new floor plan and they present a new business operation to a local board for approval," said Boomershine.

That process has to be done within a two-year period.

Boomershine encouraged bar and nightclub owners to get ahead of problems early and often.

"If you're seeing a problem starting to develop, your security needs to deal with it right away and get the problem out. If the problem is too big for your security, then it's time to call the police and have them address the issue. Don't let these things fester and brew until someone goes out and pulls a gun," said Boomershine.

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