Members of the Bush River Community Council "appreciate" the crackdown on the illegal practices, but ultimately would like to see the establishments penalized or shut down, if they repeatedly violate the law, Paff said.

"[We realize] that there are an unlimited number of customers and that the arrests will only deter a few patrons. [We] would like to see the owners of these businesses penalized for allowing criminal activity to take place in their establishments. Businesses with repeat offenses should be penalized," Paff wrote in an email.

"We're going to look into that," Cassilly said.

The state's attorney said he talked to Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane Monday, and his agency has started going through the history of what has transpired at this bookstore in particular.


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"And then we'll look into what we can do with it," Cassilly said.

One possibility, he said, is a law passed several years ago that deals with real property law, and what actions community organizations or possibly government attorneys can take against places that fail to clean up their acts.

"We need to re-read that and see what we can look at from the standpoint of the history of the place and what we can put together," Cassilly said. "And we're considering something there. Until we figure out exactly what we have to prove, we don't know exactly what the next step is."

The county has tried to shut down "adult bookstores" in the past without much success, running into First Amendment and other issues.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for government to step in.

"If the owners say, we can't help it people drive here from Baltimore just to break the law at our bookstore and we can't figure out, we can't control it on our premises, then someone else has to step in and control it," Cassilly said.