A Kendrick brew pub that’s drawn scrutiny for defying the governor’s coronavirus order was served with a search warrant Thursday, in a case related to a May 9 motorcycle crash.
Idaho State Police served the warrant on Hardware Brewing Co., looking for surveillance video and “data compilations relating to or containing information relating to the sale or serving of alcohol” to the individual involved in the May 9 wreck.
Morgan Lohman, whose parents run the business, said 12 to 15 troopers showed up at the pub Thursday afternoon and confiscated a video surveillance system, as well as the point-of-sale system.
“ISP would not allow my parents to call each other, speak to each other or be left alone/unattended,” Lohman said in an email message. “They removed our staff from the premises and would not allow my parents to speak with their lawyer.”
Although the search warrant was issued in response to the May 9 crash, Lohman worried that the investigation is simply a pretext “to frame us and use this as a reason to pull our (liquor) license and levy fines.”
The Idaho State Police issued a news release Wednesday, asking for the public’s help in investigating the May 9 crash, during which a 51-year-old Pullman man was injured after his motorcycle went into a ditch on State Highway 3.
Lt. Rich Adamson, spokesman for the Region 2 ISP office in Lewiston, said the search warrant for Hardware Brewing was requested by the local patrol division, not the agency’s statewide Alcohol Beverage Control division in Meridian.
The warrant “relates to the investigation of the crash,” Adamson said.
He wasn’t sure how many troopers participated in serving the warrant. However, any time a warrant is served, he said, “we generally have enough people to help secure the outside and inside of the premises, and to ensure the safety of everyone there.”
If any evidence is collected indicating that the motorcycle driver may have been served at the business, Adamson said, it would be forwarded to the Alcohol Beverage Control division for its consideration.
Under Gov. Brad Little’s March 25 stay-at-home order and subsequent four-phase economic reopening plan, bars and nightclubs are supposed to remain closed until at least the end of May, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Hardware Brewing very publicly defied that order when it opened on May 1. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, Idaho Republican Party chairman and former 1st Congressional District representative Raul Labrador, state Sen. Dan Johnson and state Rep. Mike Kingsley, both of Lewiston, all attended the event.
The Lohmans subsequently received a letter from ISP’s Alcohol Beverage Control division, indicating that they could lose their liquor license if they continued to operate.
Christine Lohman, Morgan’s mother, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. She previously told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that the shutdown order was killing the business financially, and that it had to reopen.
“We are going broke,” she told the paper. “The mortgages are mounting, everything’s mounting. I can’t pay Avista. ... We had to open.”
William L. Spence may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 791-9168.