Chesterfield Police bust businesses selling alcohol to underage drinkers

Updated: May. 9, 2017 at 11:09 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Police are cracking down on businesses selling alcohol to underage drinkers. A recent sting by Chesterfield Police netted more than a dozen violations in just one day. In those 13 cases, the Chesterfield violators were issued a summons. Selling alcohol to a minor is an illegal offense that can come with a fine or jail time and the possibility of losing your business license.

The alleged offenses all happened Monday as Chesterfield Police visited convenience and grocery stores, a drug store, and other retailers to catch employees handing over booze to underage drinkers.

It's a problem bartender Jessica Bowley wants to steer clear of. At Baja Bean in Richmond - the young clientele means she has to stay vigilant.

"Caught an ID today," Bowley said, referring to her restaurant spotting a fake ID.

Someone under 21 was trying to buy alcohol. Bowley knows the signs to look for.

"A lot of them, when its fake and you fold it, the plastic pops instant and you can really tell when its fake. The picture doesn't look too great. Their head is too big in a fake blue background. A lot of times, they shake because they're nervous," Bowley said.

ABC Agent David Huff says in six out of 10 cases when alcohol is sold to a minor, the young person presented a valid ID with their real age - and still got away with the booze.

"Perhaps they didn't look at it close enough, or maybe they determined 'he showed me the ID, so maybe he's old enough' and just dropped their guard. Alcohol-related fatalities remain one of the leading cause of death for young adults. We know the younger a person gets started drinking, the more likelihood they have of becoming an alcoholic," Huff added.

"When they're younger and they've had alcohol, the maturity level, things can get out of hand. We'd rather not deal with that," Bowley said.

ABC agents provide free training for businesses to know what to look out for and how to make sure they don't mistakenly sell alcohol to someone under 21. Anyone can also report a tip regarding a business that's selling to underage drinkers.



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