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Jones News, subject of police investigation, closes in Easthampton

— Jones News, the 81 Main St. convenience store that is the subject of a police investigation, closed this week after 35-plus years in business.

A sign on the door stated the store was closed, and inside, shelves were bare except for some greeting cards. The store’s longtime owner, Alan W. Bouyea, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Easthampton Police Department has been investigating the store’s bill payment service for months after receiving over 50 complaints from customers. Many customers reported that they gave Bouyea cash with the understanding that he would pay their bills from his account, but the bills were never paid.

No criminal charges have been filed against Bouyea.

Issues with payments

In an interview in November, the 66-year-old store owner admitted he has issues with bill payment and said he sometimes mixes up the five accounts he uses to pay the bills.

Police Chief Bruce McMahon said the store’s closing does not impact his department’s investigation. “It doesn’t matter because what’s happened has already happened,” he said.

He said the investigation is time-consuming because it involves over 50 alleged victims. “Each instance has different circumstances, and we need to collect financial records, checks, bank records for each person,” he said.

The store’s lottery license was also suspended Nov. 27 because Bouyea was not depositing funds acquired by selling lottery into his state lottery account, according to a Massachusetts State Lottery spokesperson.

Bouyea served as a city councilor from 1996 to 2001.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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