Local merchants allegedly ‘stung’ selling alcohol to minors
By André Coleman 01/02/2014
A joint effort between police and a local nonprofit organization has resulted in citations for four businesses — including one in Pasadena — that were caught selling alcohol to minors during a compliance check.
As part of the operation, which included the Pasadena Police Department, the South Pasadena Police Department and Day One, a drug- and alcohol-prevention program aimed at local youngsters, minors acting as decoys attempted to buy alcohol at 10 businesses in Pasadena in November and 10 businesses in South Pasadena on Dec. 13.
According to a statement issued by Day One — started in the late 1980s in part by former interim Pasadena police Chief Bruce Philpott and local activist Fran Neumann — a clerk at the K+S Mobil gas station, 1813 E. Colorado Blvd., sold alcohol to the minor.
South Pasadena businesses that allegedly sold alcohol to minors were: The Big Lots store, 1401 Huntington Drive; Ralphs supermarket, 1745 Garfield Ave.; and Carmines Italian Restaurant, 424 Fair Oaks Ave.
The store owners face $2,000 fines and could have their liquor licenses revoked if they are found to be repeat offenders.
In 2010, more than 50 percent of the stores visited during compliance checks sold alcohol to minors, according to information released by Day One. In 2013, minors purchased alcohol at 30 percent of the stores visited during compliance checks.
Law enforcement officers supervise the minors during the operation.
The alcohol compliance checks are part of a grant by Los Angeles County Substance Prevention and Control. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, frequent compliance checks significantly decreases alcohol sales to minors.
“Findings from studies conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism note that underage alcohol use kills more young people than all illegal drugs combined,” Carolina Gazzolo Clark, director of prevention programs at Day One, wrote in a prepared statement.
“Alcohol-related incidents are always significant, whether they are DUIs or merchants selling alcohol to minors.” said Pasadena Police Lt. Tracey Ibarra. “The compliance checks are not just there to protect the public, but also to protect the minors who don’t always understand the dangers of alcohol.”