Man, 19, guilty of making booze in upper Arlington

Saturday, November 13, 2010  02:54 AM

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Facebook bragging appears to be the undoing of an Upper Arlington man, who police say was selling homemade liquor and boasting about it on the Internet. Joseph A. Rotkiske IV, of 2279 Edgevale Rd., pleaded guilty yesterday to a liquor-acts prohibition charge, a first-degree misdemeanor. Municipal Court Judge Anne Taylor sentenced Rotkiske, 19, to two years of probation and 180 days in jail, with all but two of those days in jail suspended. Taylor dismissed a second charge of underage drinking.

"We suspect that he was manufacturing wine, liquor and whiskey," Upper Arlington police Sgt. Jon Wilhelm said. "It's illegal." Rotkiske had a liquor still in his house, authorities said. Although it's OK for people to make beer or wine for personal use, no one is allowed to "manufacture any beer or intoxicating liquor for sale, or shall manufacture spirituous liquor," according to the Ohio Revised Code. Rotkiske was arrested Nov. 4, after a tipster told police that Rotkiske had told her he made and sold moonshine and wine, according to the Upper Arlington police incident report. She said he'd also advertised it on Facebook. A confidential informant contacted Rotkiske and confirmed that he was offering wine and moonshine for $20 per quart and $60 per gallon, Wilhelm said. The informant bought one quart of moonshine from Rotkiske on two occasions, police said. In a search of Rotkiske's home, Wilhelm said, police found distillery equipment; ingredients and recipes for liquor manufacturing; and liquor in various stages of production. A recent check of Rotkiske's Facebook profile showed this comment from him: "ok once I get the distillery up and running to the level i expect, i'll get a good amount of money rolling in SO I wont have to depend on the Auto Body/ painting/air brushing stuff to put food on the table." Police arrested Rotkiske in the home that he shares with his mother, Wilhelm said. The detective said she apparently didn't know he was selling the liquor he'd been making. Rotkiske didn't return calls for comment this week. Wilhelm said this is the first time in his 21 years with Upper Arlington police that he's heard about someone selling homemade liquor. Dispatch news researcher Susan Stonick contributed to this story.