12 of 14 local stores sold to minors
A dozen local convenience store clerks were busted for selling beer to minors in a recent sting operation conducted by the Laurel Police Department, Chief Tommy Cox said.
Of the 14 stores that the LPD sent an undercover, under-age beer buyer in, 12 made the sale.
• "Pure" gas station, W. 6th St. and 10th Ave.
• 1st Avenue Curb Store
• Your Store My Store, 1st Avenue
• Blues Super Store on Susie B. Ruffin Avenue
• Circle K, Chantilly Street
• Interstate Mini Mart, Chantilly Street
• One Stop, Ellisville Boulevard
• Chevron, South 16th Avenue
• Shell Station at 10th Street and Hwy 15 North
• FastStop on Highway 15 North
• Curb store on Johnson Circle.
The department picked stores in different locations across the city and targeted a couple that they had received complaints about.
“It’s been a while since we did a beer sting,” Cox said, “but we get constant complaints about stores selling beer and tobacco to people who aren’t old enough to purchase it. We haven’t checked in a while … and they didn’t do too well. This was not a success story.”
A total of 12 stores sold tobacco and 11 sold alcohol and tobacco.
The undercover buyers were under 21 and were told to use their own driver’s license if asked for it. They didn’t “look like babies, but they didn’t look 40 either,” Cox said.
The clerks who made the sales turned themselves in last Tuesday after being identified by the LPD and arrest warrants were issued for them. The offense — “selling beer to a minor” — is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $392.25.
“It’s like a traffic ticket — we let them come in at a certain time and everyone showed up,” he said.
Different stores have different policies, but Cox said he hopes that people don’t lose their jobs for the offense.
“This does show the need for further training,” he said.
The stores that didn’t sell to minors were the Clark stores on Highway 84 West and on Ellisville Boulevard in South Laurel and the BB Mini Mart on Ellisville Boulevard.
“That says a lot for how they train their employees,” Cox said of Clark.
The “Pure” gas station at West 6th Street and 10th Avenue, across from Daphne Park, sold to minors twice during the operation, according to court records.