WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Wallingford police conducted alcohol compliance checks at 13 liquor stores in town on Monday and Wednesday. A 19-year-old working with Wallingford police tried to buy alcohol at the stores and was able to at 11 of them. She was only asked for her ID at two of the stores; one of those was the Liquor Mart.
“I give props to my wife actually,” said Prakash Patel, owner of the Liquor Mart. “She was on the register and she checked the ID. [The teenager] did not have ID so she said I cannot give you [alcohol].”
The Discount Wine & Spirit was the other store that police say checked the teen’s ID and refused to sell her alcohol. Darsh Mehta, one of the owners, was working at the register on Monday when the teenager went into the store.
“They didn’t have an ID on them so I respectfully said no, I can’t serve you if you don’t have it,” said Mehta. “The person didn’t fight back.”
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Police say the teenager was never even asked for her ID or her age in most stores, however. When detectives spoke with the clerks who allegedly sold the alcohol, they had excuses like “I was busy” or “I forgot.”
Some owners say despite their best efforts, mistakes can happen.
“They are doing good but sometimes things happen,” Patel said. “It’s a requirement, but nobody’s perfect anyway.”
But owners say they take preventing underage drinking very seriously. Experts say it’s a major problem. Maks Danilin is a partner at Aware Recovery Care. He says they treat about a dozen people under 21 per month.
“The majority of children, or adolescents, these days are not starting with marijuana leading to other drugs,” said Danilin. “They’re starting with alcohol leading to other drugs.”
The owners of the stores that carded say they will keep checking IDs, and they’ll be ready for any future compliance checks. Police say there will be more.
“It’s honestly the law and it’s my job,” said Mehta. “I take pride in what I do.”
The employees were cited for Selling Alcohol to a Minor and will appear in court on July 14th. The businesses could face penalties ranging from a fine to a suspension of their liquor licenses.
The stores found to not be in compliance include:
- One Stop Liquor, 900 South Colony Road
- A & D Package Store, 38 South Turnpike Road
- Goodrich’s Package Store, 321 Quinnipiac Street
- Wally Wine & Spirits, 71 Quinnipiac Street
- Yalesville Package Store, 413 Main Street
- Wine Kingdom, 1211 South Broad Street
- Empire Wine & Liquor, 1145 North Colony Road
- Wine Merchants, 994 North Colony Road
- CT Beverage Mart, 1070 North Colony Road
- Ives Road Wine & Spirits, 20 Ives Road
- Black Hills Wine & Spirits, 41 North Colony Road
News 8 reached out to those stores, but they all declined to comment.