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York County man watched ‘Moonshiners’ on TV, and bought a still, police said

York County Sheriff's Office, York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit

In what police say is the first seizure of a liquor still in recent memory, York County deputies charged a man already in jail with making illegal moonshine.

And the man got the idea from watching “Moonshiners” on television, police said.

Emmett-Alton Bates Hipp Sr., 59, was arrested for unlawful manufacture or sales of untaxed alcohol and illegal possession of a distillery, according to jail records and Lt. Mike Ligon of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.

Deputies were called Tuesday about a still in Hipp’s shop in Smyrna in western York County, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Patrol officers found the still, bottles, alcohol and other equipment in the outbuilding. Officers called drug agents, who seized the still and about a half-gallon of moonshine, Ligon said.

Drug agents then went to the York County jail and interviewed Hipp, who has been incarcerated since Jan. 15 on pending charges of domestic violence.

Hipp admitted the still was his, Ligon said.

“He said he was watching ‘Moonshiners’ on TV and bought the still online,” Ligon said. “He said he paid about $700 for it.”

“Moonshiners” is a cable television show on the Discovery network.

Sheriff’s office officials could not recall the last still that had been seized in York County.

Both charges are misdemeanors and carry a maximum penalty of six months for conviction under South Carolina law.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.