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Homeless man breaks into abandoned bar, begins selling alcohol

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
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Police: Man breaks into bar, sells drinks
  • Suspect sells alcohol for a weekend before detectives arrive
  • Suspect allegedly broke into bar that was out of business
  • Authorities learn about it from a newspaper article
  • California

(CNN) -- A homeless man allegedly broke into a California bar and served drinks to unsuspecting patrons all weekend -- before police came calling.

The bar, called the Valencia Club, had gone out of business for some time and its liquor license had expired, police said this week.

But the suspect, Travis Lloyd Kevie, 29, somehow got into the California establishment in the Penryn area of Sacramento Valley last week. He reopened the bar using beer he bought from a nearby store.

Kevie allegedly started with a six-pack of beer and used money he received to buy more alcohol.

He kept the bar open for a weekend serving about 30 customers a day, authorities said.

He was so successful that a local newspaper did a story about the bar reopening.

"A local newspaper report alerted a Placer County Sheriff's Office Detective of a possible ongoing crime being committed in the Penryn area," the Placer County Sheriff's Office said. "As Detective Jim Hudson read the morning newspaper he recognized an individual pictured on the front page as a local transient who has had numerous contact with the Placer County Sheriff's Office."

A detective went to the bar to determine if Kevie had obtained a liquor license.

"When Detective Hudson arrived at the Valencia Club it was open for business with customers bellied up to the bar. Upon questioning Kevie Detective Hudson determined that he had no connection to the property and he did not have a liquor license," the department said.

Kevie was arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary and selling liquor without a license.

A large amount of alcohol and cash was also confiscated from the bar.

The newspaper, the Auburn Journal, that ran the story about the new "bar owner", reported that Kevie was arraigned on a single misdemeanor charge Thursday and ordered released from jail.

CNN's Heather Murphy contributed to this report.