5 Tville businesses busted in underage drinking sting - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

5 Tville businesses busted in underage drinking sting


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –Thomasville police busted five businesses for selling alcohol to a person under 21.

The two-week sting is conducted annually and welcomed by some alcohol-beverage license holders.

But one liquor store owner says not everyone purposely breaks the law.

One by one, a 20-year old police informant walked into each of the 39 Thomasville businesses licensed to sell alcohol. And five times during the two-week "Mystery Shopper" detail, he walked out with illegally-purchased alcohol.

"I think it's a good thing that they are doing that to make sure everyone is abiding by the law," says Jay Harvard of J's Wine & Spirits. "I have kids and I wouldn't want my kids with their friends to be able to buy underage either."

The Pit Stop on Hwy 19, Rite Aid on Broad Street, Harvey's Grocery Store on Jackson, and Flash Foods and Top Shelf Package both on Pinetree Boulevard, are all one step closer to losing their alcohol license.

"You know it's a privilege license. You know that going into it and the city makes that clear."

Harvard owns and operates a liquor store in Thomasville and says he doesn't worry about police stings.

Employees at J's Wine & Spirits undergo a training program before they can sell alcohol. One part of that training is learning how to spot a fake ID.

But Harvard admits that spotting fakes get harder every year as underage drinkers become more and more tech-savvy.

"That is a tough problem," Harvard says. "We don't have the technology to really prove that it's not. But we check it carefully. And if it does look suspicious, we just err on the side of caution and say we can't accept it."

But Harvard says honest mistakes can happen.

"I do feel bad for a place like Harvey's that has several locations. But you have just know who you're hiring and train them well."

To make sure alcohol doesn't end up in the wrong hands.

Store owners or managers from the five businesses will go before the Thomasville City Council and pay a fine for furnishing alcohol to a person under 21.

Council members also have the option of suspending a business's alcoholic-beverage license.

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