2 arrested at suspected illegal liquor operation had guns, Dayton police say

Shawn Strickland, 48, stuffed the handgun he had in the well of a pool table where the balls are stored, police said in the reports, while Brian Cavitt, 45, handed his gun to a woman as undercover police watched from outside the building at 1724 N. Main St.

Cavitt told police he was there for security, to keep everyone safe and to make sure no one brought anything inside.

He said his “buddy” sells food from the location, which is open to anyone -- including police. Beside the pool table, police said there were TVs, chairs, a commercial sound system and bar as a makeshift commercial kitchen in the building at the corner of Mary Avenue.

(Shawn D. Strickland/ Montgomery County Jail)
(Brian K. Cavitt/ Montgomery County Jail)

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Cavitt denied ever having a gun, even after he was told officers saw him hand a semi-automatic handgun to a woman who grabbed it “and so many liquor bottles that she had to carry the bottles with both arms as if she were carrying a full laundry basket.” 

Police said she was taking the bottles to the basement as they walked in. Police put her in handcuffs, but it’s not clear whether she was booked into jail.

Both guns had live rounds in them, according to the incident reports. When officers saw and seized Cavitt’s and Strickland’s guns, they ordered everybody in the building to show their hands. There were several people milling about, according to police.

Strickland and Cavitt were led out in handcuffs Wednesday night from the building. The two were being detained on firearms charges.

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Undercover Dayton police said they found hundreds of bottles of beer, several bottles of liquor and several firearms in the building. They said several people put down firearms as the officers walked in, which prompted them to call for backup.

The police department’s narcotics unit and an Ohio Investigative Unit agent were involved in Wednesday night’s  investigation.

Neighbors, who asked not be identified by name, said they’re glad police are shutting down the operation.

Several police officers were dispatched to investigate what appeared to be a bootleg liquor operation on North Main Street in Dayton. They were dispatched initially to investigate what was being called a suspicious circumstance, according to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch. 

Police cleared the building.

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