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Restaurant owner arrested for posting photos of teenage undercover police agents buying beer at his business

By Mason White 1:50 PM February 17, 2017
John Horvatinovich
By: Alexis Bell

(Scroll down for video) Police officers in Nebraska, were pissed off when their sting operation did not go as planned.

They decided to arrest the restaurant owner who foiled their operation.

John Horvatinovich, the owner of restaurant Salt 88 in Omaha, spotted teenagers who were attempting to buy beer. He believed that they were involved in a police sting operation to catch owners who sell beer to underage kids.

Horvatinovich took photos from his surveillance cameras, showing the faces of the teenagers and he posted them to social media.

He wrote: “Omaha restaurant peeps: These two are trying to ruin your night with sting operations in town.”

Police were not happy with his actions as some of Horvatinovich’s social media friends are local restaurant and bar owners.

After his warning botched the police sting operation, Horvatinovich was arrested and he is facing up to a year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.

Horvatinovich refused to plead guilty to charges of obstructing a government operation, and he decided to go to trial in an effort to prove his point.

“This was about principle, absolutely.’’ Horvatinovich said.

He added that his wife usually tells him to “just let things go,” but this time, she is standing by him and encouraged him to fight the charge.

Assistant City Prosecutor Makayla Maclin said that the social media message “compromised the investigation” as the teens were unable to carry out any more compliance checks as a result of the tweet.

His defense attorney, Carolyn Wilson, said that the tweet did not violate the law as it is not illegal to take a picture of someone and post it online, if they’re in a public place.

Horvatinovich was overjoyed when a six member jury found him not guilty of the charges.

However, Horvatinovich did suffer some consequences as a result of fighting for his freedom of speech. Horvatinovich said that he was unable to focus on his business since his arrest 6 month ago, and as a result, sales at the restaurant are down.

A GonFundMe was set up to help Horvatinovich pay the “thousands of dollars in attorney’s fee and relieve the stress of the situation for John and his family.”

According to a Facebook posts, Horvatinovich and his wife are business partners and they have five daughters.