WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Three Downtown Wilmington bars are being investigated by the state. Assistant City Attorney Bill Wolak won't tell us which bars specifically, but says a nuisance abatement team investigation is a last resort and happens only when law enforcement is not effective in keeping the peace at an establishment. He also says the abatement team only investigates establishments where there have been numerous reported assaults, armed robberies, or any other crimes of violence.
The Wilmington Police Department won't confirm which bars are being investigated either, but says three that are on their radar right now include Sidebar, City Limits Saloon and the Rhino Club because of the number of filed police reports over the past few months.
ALE says it is in the early stages of investigating the Rhino Club after a stabbing there this past weekend. Wilmington Police reports show there have been at least 20 reports of violence inside and outside the Rhino Club since January 2009, including assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and theft.
The club's owner said he's not responsible for what happens outside and disputes a police report that a woman was hit over the head with a beer bottle inside over the weekend. But he refused to sit down and talk with us. Instead he claimed he's being targeted because of a predominantly African-American clientelle.
Since March 1998, four downtown bars have lost their liquor license because of nuisance abatement investigations. Wolack would not confirm which bars downtown are being investigated. The investigations will determine whether any action will be taken against the bars in Superior Court.