Motorcycles and moonshine get shop owner into hot water

Publish Date: 
Mar 19, 2013

MIDDLESEX, Va. - A Virginia motorcycle repair shop owner is facing charges of manufacturing alcohol and being armed while manufacturing alcohol, but has eluded charges related to a dispute that ended with a shotgun blast.

Authorities say the shop owner and a friend were drinking at the business last Dec. 15 and got into an argument about an ex-girlfriend. As the argument escalated, one brandished a baseball bat and the other a two-foot level. No blows were struck and the visitor left the shop in his pickup truck.

When he returned a while later, the shop owner allegedly fired a shotgun at the windshield of the occupied truck. The visitor hightailed it to the sheriff’s office, where he was arrested on alcohol-related charges while telling his story.

During the ensuing investigation, Middlesex County Sheriff's investigators and a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control special agent say they discovered a moonshine manufacturing operation at the shop, which led to the manufacturing charges against the shop owner. ABC Special Agent Judy Dobson testified 22-proof, brown-colored "apple pie" moonshine was being manufactured at the shop.

In a hearing this week, the shop owner’s attorney was questioning the visitor, who cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to say how much he had been drinking before the incident that day, according to the Newport News Daily Press.

After researching case law, Judge Jeffrey Shaw refused to certify to a grand jury the charges against the shop owner related to the shotgun blast, but certified the manufacturing charges.

Posted by Holly Wagner