Undercover task force cites 17 businesses for selling alcohol to minors

Undercover — and underage — agents working for state regulators cited 17 Lawrence businesses for selling alcohol to minors Wednesday night.

Among those businesses were grocery stores, gasoline stations and restaurants holding licenses to sell only 3.2 beer. Those are regulated by the city and less often investigated, said Jen Jordan, director of prevention for DCCCA and a member of Draw the Line Lawrence, a community group working against underage drinking.

Underage informants working for the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency attempted to buy alcohol from 70 businesses as part of a grant-funded effort led by Draw the Line Lawrence. The rules required them to use their own ID cards and to refrain from any deception. They succeeded 17 times, which Jordan said was vexing because there are so many mechanisms in place to prevent mistakes.

Driver’s licenses issued to minors, for instance, are printed vertically to alert clerks the customer is underage. And Wednesday, nine employees sold to minors even after checking IDs. Three times, store clerks chose to override cash register systems by entering in false information indicating the customer was over 21.

Four liquor stores were issued citations ranging from $500 to $100, depending on whether they had offended before. The clerks who sold to minors received $200 citations and must appear in court.

Thirteen employees of businesses selling 3.2 beer were issued $200 citations. There is no city ordinance allowing those businesses to also be cited.

Jordan said Draw the Line Lawrence is planning another undercover enforcement effort this summer.

These businesses were cited Wednesday:

• Dillons grocery store, 1740 Massachusetts St.

• Dillons grocery store, 3000 W. Sixth St.

• Kwik Shop convenience store, 1611 E. 23rd St.

• Presto convenience store, 2330 Iowa St.

• Sandwich Bowl restaurant, 3514 Clinton Pkwy.

• Pyramid Pizza, 1029 Massachusetts St.

• Burgers by Biggs, 4801 Bauer Farm Drive.

• Charlie’s East Side Bar and Grill, 900 Pennsylvania St.

• Hy-Vee grocery store, 4000 W. Sixth St.

• Pick and Pay convenience store, 2447 W. Sixth St.

• Phillips 66 convenience story, 1801 W. Second St.

• Walgreens, 3421 W. Sixth St.

• Zarco 66 convenience store, 1415 W. Sixth St.

• University Liquor, 3300 Bob Billings Parkway.

• Jensen Liquor, 620 W. Ninth St.

• Barley’s Liquor, 1805 W. Second St.

• City Wine Market, 4821 W. Sixth St.