Police Raid Spencer Gifts, Confiscate 'Sex-Related' Products

We hadn’t been in a Spencer Gifts (aka Spencer’s) since Color Me Badd was lighting up the charts, but our memories of the mall-based stores are of goofy bachelor party gag gifts and posters of bikini-clad women. The authorities in Rapid City, SD, believe the store is an unlicensed “adult-oriented business” and on Monday the police seized boxes containing around 2,000 “sex-related” products.

Though the Spencer’s in the Rushmore Mall had been in business since 1979, it was only in the last year that someone got around to filing a complaint with the city, which then sent letters demanding the store be in line with regulations regarding adult-oriented businesses.

And then, according to the Rapid City Journal, on Monday, the police showed up with a search warrant:

The search warrant… allowed officers to seize all merchandise designed for use during sexual activity, books, films or other visual representations of sexual activity or anatomical areas, novelty items depicting genitals or exposed female breasts and packaging of items depicting sexual activity or anatomical areas, according to court documents.

The city attorney told the paper that he anticipates filing charges soon based on the evidence seized during the raid.

One point of contention is just how much of Spencer’s stock is actually adult-oriented. Local regulations say that businesses can sell adult merchandise without a license as long as it does not make up a “substantial or significant portion of its stock.” Various courts have defined substantial to mean anywhere from 20-50%.

A lawyer for Spencer’s says that adult material only made up 5% of the items on sale at the Rapid City store.

If Spencer’s is found to have been operating an adult-oriented business without a license, the owner could be looking at a $200 fine and 30 days in jail for every day a business fails to register.

Spencer’s could face criminal charges; more than 2,000 products confiscated [Rapid City Journal]