McGuire Books in Oak Ridge is closing, while Packard’s Games and Movies in Clinton has re-opened and Packard’s in Kingston is expected to re-open.
The McGuire Books store in Oak Ridge, which also sells compact discs, digital video discs, games, and electronics, said it was closing after it was searched and some items were seized by law enforcement starting at about noon Thursday, May 24. The store was open the next day, Friday of last week, with a skeleton crew of staff members, although there were, at that time, shelves that were conspicuously empty at the front of the store. Law enforcement officers were reported to have taken DVDs, games, and some other items.
The search last week, which continued into Thursday night and involved several large moving trucks, was led by the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force of Anderson County. The CTF was helped by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Eighth Judicial District Drug Task Force, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Clinton Police Department. Seventh Judicial District Attorney General Dave Clark and Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Spitzer were also at the store.
Officers were observed removing boxes of items from McGuire Books and packing them into the moving trucks last week. Crime scene tape blocked entry to the store, and a Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force crime scene truck was parked out front. The purpose of the search has not been announced.
The search and seizures have created uncertainty among the staff, and some have not returned.
It’s not clear exactly when the store will close, but store staff said they hope to be open another 30 to 60 days.
Two other stores searched around the same time as McGuire Books last week are reported to have re-opened or to be expected to re-open. Both stores, a Packard’s in Clinton and a Packard’s in Kingston, were closed when a reporter stopped by a week ago Friday, with some empty shelves visible, suggesting items had been removed. It’s not clear why those stores were searched at about the same as McGuire Books, and law enforcement officers have declined to comment.
The Packard’s in Clinton is reported to have closed for a few days but then re-opened, and it’s reportedly been under new management since April 1.
The Packard’s in Kingston is reported to be in the process of being sold to new owners, and it is expected to re-open after that.
The Packard’s in Oak Ridge was reported to have closed earlier, along with the PC ‘N’ Print Computer Repair next door, and the space used for online operations, storage, and other operations by McGuire Books.
Employees at nearby businesses reported seeing the search and seizures at Packard’s in Clinton and Kingston last Thursday.
One employee near the Clinton store said the search, which included the Clinton Police Department, a task force, and what appeared to be undercover officers, started around lunchtime Thursday and continued all day, past 7:30 p.m., with boxes being loaded into a Penske truck.
That store is always busy, according to the employee, who works at a nearby business.
An employee at a business near the Packard’s in Kingston said he came to work around 4:30 p.m. last Thursday and saw a Roane County Sheriff’s Department sport utility vehicle in front of the store, along with police tape. There was a big truck parked in the parking lot in front of the store, and officers were carrying stuff from the store to the truck, the employee said.
It’s not clear what was seized from either store, but both had large sections of empty shelves a week ago Friday.
Employees who talked to a reporter at McGuire Books during the search in Oak Ridge last week raised concerns about business practices related to gift cards and ink cartridges, and employment practices related to worker payments, among other issues. But authorities declined to comment on those concerns or to say whether employees had talked to law enforcement about those concerns, and it wasn’t clear if that is why officers were searching the store. Oak Ridge Today has not been able to talk to the person at McGuire Books who has been cited by employees as essentially the person in charge.
Oak Ridge Today has not able to find any pending cases related to last Thursday’s searches in either state or federal court records.
McGuire is near the intersection of South Illinois Avenue and South Tulane Avenue in central Oak Ridge. Packard’s in Clinton is in a shopping center on North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard, on the east side of Clinton, near the Clinch River. Packard’s in Kingston is on North Kentucky Street in central Kingston.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous story here.
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