NORMAN, Okla. - A Norman retail shop is under investigation after a police raid earlier this month.
The manager, who is a Norman city councilman, insists his store is on the right side of the law despite the fact police have seized drug paraphernalia.
It didn’t take long for store employees to restock the shelves with the same kind of merchandise police seized.
Officers also seized thousands of dollars in cash from the store.
The councilman is hoping he’ll get that money back.
Norman City Councilman Stephen Holman’s day job is at the Friendly Market, where artwork and essential oils are a hit with customers.
But, getting the most attention lately is a room in the center of the store that’s a smoke shop.
It’s full of glass pipes that you could use for smoking illegal drugs, but Holman says that’s not their intention.
“People use them for decorations, people use them for vases, sometimes people use them to smoke all kinds of different herbs and tobacco products,” Holman said.
But, police have a different theory on how customers use these products and gave the store a warning back in May.
“We informed him about the state law regarding drug paraphernalia, and he was asked to remove certain items from his store to be in compliance with state law,” Norman Police Department Spokesperson Sarah Jensen said.
He did, at one point, remove those items, but they were back on store shelves in October.
Police got a tip, so an undercover officer went in to buy some items.
Soon after, police conducted a six-hour raid to haul out all the water pipes, glass smoking pipes, rolling paper and sales reports.
“They took all the money in the store, including money in my briefcase that was on its way to the bank for a deposit, all the money out of the register,” Holman said.
Holman says police seized more than $2,000 and about $10,000 in merchandise.
But, he’s determined.
He’s restocked and reiterates that his operation is legal.
“What people do with them when they become their property and take it home is up to them. It’s theirs at that point,” Holman said.
No arrests have been made in the case.
According to court records, Stephen Holman is now being charged with seven counts, including unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.