Mississippi Store Raided, Shut Down, Reopened

Matt O'Conner
JACKSON, Miss. — The Adult Video & Book Store is once again open for business and owner Charles Hobby has been released from jail one day after Mayor Frank Melton led a raid against the store and bolted the doors.

“He [Melton] puts a key on the door and locks us up, then sends his people out last night and confiscates all my novelties," Hobby said.

Hobby has operated the store for four years without incident and said he was taken completely by surprise when police burst in and arrested him. They returned later that night to strip an entire wall of sex toys.

Hobby, who has a city permit to operate an adult business, estimates that police took around $10,000 worth of toys, apparently to be used as evidence against the store.

It is illegal to sell most devises that could be classified as sex toys in Mississippi, but Hobby contends the items he stocked in his store did not violate state law. Police did not prevent him from reopening the store on Wednesday.

Melton claims that when he entered the store, he caught two patrons engaged in an inappropriate act in a back area with private booths, where customers can watch videos. But Hobby said the entire store is monitored by video cameras and that footage taken before and during the raid shows no such activities took place.

Customers were given five minutes to leave the store, and no arrests were made.

"I just got done reviewing the tape and there was nobody in that room," said Hobby, who plans to hire a lawyer and fight the city’s efforts to put him out of business.

Melton said Tuesday’s raid on Adult Video & Book Store was not the last and that he will continue to shut down the store until its no longer in operation.

Melton led a similar raid against another store across town in July that led to that store going out of business.