Chesterfield Police cracks down on stores making illegal alcohol sales

Published: Dec. 9, 2016 at 3:19 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2016 at 3:45 AM EST
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ChesterfieldSAFE card side 2
ChesterfieldSAFE card side 2

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - In one day, 13 liquor law violations took place in convenience stores, even supermarkets through compliance checks. Clerks were caught making an illegal sale to someone under 21, which is a misdemeanor.

A recent community survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders in Chesterfield actually found that underage drinking was down among the age group, but the survey found that binge drinking is on the rise among 12th graders in the county. Those 12th graders also reported going into stores and buying alcohol directly.

"We're just trying to make store owners, licensees aware, they need to be checking ID's before they sell alcohol to those who may look underage," said Regina Whitsett, Executive Director of SAFE, a non-profit in Chesterfield.

Through an $8,000 grant, Chesterfield Police and SAFE are working with Virginia ABC to combat underage drinking. Young people are trained to help with compliance checks. If a clerk makes an illegal sale, they receive a citation and they are reported to the ABC board.

The goal of the collaboration is to make some changes, give stores a wake-up call and deter underage drinking.

"We also want the conversation to go more with the families, with the parents and with their children," explained Whitsett. "That you can get in trouble for this."

The grant funding began on July 1. So far, 18 percent of stores that have been checked have not complied. Stores on Midlothian turnpike and Turner Road are among the 13 liquor law violations from this week, but not everyone failed the test. 82 percent of stores checked did comply, and they were each given a card, congratulating them for refusing to sell alcohol to someone underage.

The compliance checks will continue throughout the coming year, and stores are warned they can happen randomly, but there is also training available to help them prevent illegal sales.

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