Homeless man who opened illegal bar in Penryn’s vacant Valencia Club faces more charges

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A homeless man who the Placer County Sheriff’s Department discovered illegally selling alcohol out of the vacant Valencia Club bar in Penryn is now facing a felony burglary charge as well. Travis Lloyd Kevie, 29, was arrested Tuesday at the bar after opening the doors Friday and establishing a well-constructed ruse that drew a steady stream of unknowing customers. That also resulted in a story in the Journal about the apparent reopening of a much-loved local landmark. Detective Jim Hudson recognized Kevie in the Journal article Tuesday not as a new business owner but as a local transient who had come into contact numerous times with the Sheriff’s Department. Hudson also knew the bar had been closed and the license had been surrendered to the California Alcohol Beverage Control Board. According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Department issued Wednesday, Hudson responded to the Taylor Road club to determine if Kevie had obtained a new liquor license for the business. Questioning by the detective determined Kevie had no connection to the property and did not have a liquor license. Kevie told Hudson that he broke into the building and put an open sign in the window last Friday night. Further questioning revealed that Kevie started with a six-pack of beer purchased from the convenience store across the street and used the proceeds to buy more alcohol. With more people attracted to the Valencia Club, he continued the process through the weekend, serving about 30 customers a day, the Sheriff’s Department said. Lee Ou, of the Fast Pack market across English Colony Road from the Valencia Club, said she thought Kevie was a worker going back and forth to buy refreshments for other people renovating the bar. “I was shocked when the sheriff showed up,” she said. The Valencia Club had closed its doors in early June and its owner was continuing to look for a new bar or restaurant operator when Kevie took up residence as a squatter bar "owner." The liquor license had been surrendered to the California Alcohol Control Board by the previous owners – the DJPR partnership of Roseville. Len Travis, property manager for the Valencia Club’s Marina Del Rey owner Kenneth Stimson, had also read the Journal article and arrived just before the Sheriff’s Department. He was in the process of getting Kevie out, he said. Travis said he didn’t feel Kevie grasped the severity of his actions. But Kevie remained and was soon escorted in handcuffs away from the Valencia Club to a waiting sheriff’s car. Kevie was booked Tuesday into the Placer County Jail, with bail set at $50,000. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. Travis said the liquor license has several liens against it and is in the hands of a court receiver. The club was closed by the DJPR partnership who “essentially gave it up just before they were evicted,” Travis said. Kevie had been part of a crew hired by DJPR to clean the place up after they left, he said. But he had no permission to operate a bar on the property, Travis said. The Valencia Club was locked again today. Travis said every effort is being made to re-open the business, with four or five different interested parties now considering opening it again. The unusual activity at the club had the small, semi-rural community buzzing today. The news had already spread nationally with an item on the internet’s Drudge Report. “It’s very bizarre,” said Pete Nurenberg, of ES Electric and Solar in Penryn. “It was a very bold move to think he wouldn’t get caught. But with the economic downturn, it may have been his last resort. Now at least he’ll get three meals a day, a roof over his head and some medical help.”