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Stores still selling alcohol to underage people

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February 19, 2008

Albany - More than half of Albany convenience stores checked sold alcohol to underaged customers. At 60% of the stores that were in violation, the clerks sold to underaged customers even after looking at their ID's. Tonight, city commissioner say it's time to put a stop to it.

December 28th, law enforcers sent in an underage person to D&D Food Mart on North Jefferson. She put alcohol on the counter and without even checking her ID, the store clerk sold to her. "We check these places regularly," said ADDU Commander Derrell Smith. "They know we're coming back, but continually we have 45-50% violating the law."

Typically when a store is busted, the owner cracks down on employees and make sure they check all IDs, so Drug Commander Derrell Smith was shocked when he sent another underage person into D&D just one month later and once again, she came out with booze. "Maybe the message needs to be sent that if you continue to violate these ordinances and these laws, that you lose your alcohol license," he said.

And that's what happens now, but only after four offenses within 24 months. City Commissioners want to crack down on violators. "Help strengthen that rule so that this won't keep occurring and people just saying, well, they're just going to slap me on the wrist. We need a way to bring a little more strength to it," said Commissioner Tommie Postell.

Commissioner Morris Gurr said, "What we're talking about is maybe making things a little more strict for those who are caught doing it."

And those caught ignoring the IDs they do check. In December, six of the 10 offenders checked IDs, saw that the patrons were under 21 and still sold. Gurr said, "If they look at the ID and they sell anyway, they've got to be hit hard."

To keep that hard hitting alcohol, out of the hands of kids. Sales clerks who sell to underage customers are arrested and prosecuted.

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