Utah man accused of running speakeasy from garage

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SANDY, Utah (AP) — A Utah man was arrested after police say he ran a speakeasy out of his garage and sold drinks to an undercover officer.

Jared Williams, 33, of Sandy has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of running a business without a license, court records show, The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/11JO0V1 ).

Records show a resident told police in May about the so-called "Dog Bar," named for a bulldog painted on the garage door.

Police say they sent an undercover officer to the home in June, and found about 10 people there, the Tribune reported.

The man behind the counter identified himself as Jared and reportedly told the officer he had started the bar with his father in 2006.

Sandy police say they later returned and seized 106 bottles of liquor, 77 cans of beer and a cash register.

Williams' attorney, Christopher Ault, told The Associated Press that the charge is minor and unworthy of the public attention it is receiving.

"The fact that is has become some community uproar is interesting," Ault said.

He declined to discuss any details about what happened because the case is still playing out in courts.

Utah restricts permits for bars based on population quotas. That's just one aspect of the state's notoriously strict liquor laws, which are rooted in fears that easing the restrictions could lead to more underage drinking and drunken driving.

The majority of Utah legislators and residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.

Ault said he hasn't seen the evidence that prosecutors have, and doesn't know why more than a dozen Sandy police officers went to Williams' house to make the arrest.

"We'd love to find out why this has all happened" Ault said.

Calls to a phone number listed for Williams were not answered.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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