Police sting nabs stores for selling to minors

Police announced last week that a sting operation by local authorities has resulted in several Mountain View establishments being cited for selling alcohol or tobacco to minors.

The operation, conducted on four separate days since January, used a decoy -- someone underage working with police -- to find out which stores would sell to minors.

"We hit basically every single vendor," said police spokesperson Liz Wylie. "We don't spot check, we hit all of them."

To conduct the checks, non-uniformed members of the Police Department's "Explorers" program attempted to buy tobacco or alcohol products under the supervision of regular officers. The Explorers were under age 18 if purchasing tobacco products, and under 21 if purchasing alcohol.

Police say that on Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, Explorers attempted to purchase tobacco products at 56 stores in Mountain View and authorities cited three for violations. On Feb. 24 and March 5, Explorers attempted to purchase alcohol at 60 stores in Mountain View and authorities cited 11 for violations.

Wylie said police have run a program for the past five years where volunteers visit every tobacco vendor in the city to check for state and municipal code compliance. She said the program is educational -- the volunteers make sure stores have the proper signage, that their permits and licenses are posted and that tobacco products are locked or stowed behind a counter. She also said police are considering adding an alcohol component to the volunteer program.

Clerks who sell alcohol or tobacco to minors are cited with misdemeanors, according to District Attorney's Office spokesperson Amy Cornell. Improper sale of alcohol results in at least 24 hours community service and a $1,000 fine, she said. The maximum sentence is six months in jail.

As for selling tobacco, "For the first offense it is a $200 fine, for the second, a $500 fine, and for the third offense a $1,000 fine," she said.

"We forward these to the agencies that issue the permits and the licenses ... so they know that vendors at these stores sold illegally," Wylie said. "They can take additional action on their end if they so desire."

The Mountain View establishments cited for selling tobacco in the recent sting are Fast Mini Mart on Moffett Boulevard, Valero Gas Station on Moffett Boulevard and Giant Liquor on E. Middlefield Road.

The establishments cited for selling alcohol are Cigarette Express on W. El Camino Real, Brown & Gold Market on El Monte Avenue, Beverages & More on San Antonio Road, Central Liquors on N. Rengstorff Avenue, Bailey Plaza Liquors on Shoreline Boulevard, Liquor Tobacco & More on N. Rengstorff Avenue, Fast Mini Mart on Moffett Boulevard, Clydes Liquors on W. El Camino Real, Giant Liquor on E. Middlefield Road, Smart & Final on E. El Camino Real and Stop and Save on E. El Camino Real.


Like this comment
Posted by Real Patriot
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 16, 2010 at 11:52 am

Lets legalize marijuana!

Not just because of CA's budget crisis but so we can keep more money from flowing out of the country to the drug cartels.

Since its mainly the peasants (Low-income, uneducated) of our society that do intentionally misuse drugs, its an even better win-win for us(the elite). We keep control of drugs and we tax it at the same time.

wow, this is actually how the world works. The American Dream is for one to rise from the despair and crush everyone else like bugs.

Like this comment
Posted by on_my_meds
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Real Patriot:
I know the constitution guarantees your right to ramble, but what the what???

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