Sales to minors costs store its liquor license for a weekend

July 23, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

You can buy almost anything from the 7-Eleven store on Frederick Road in Ellicott City, but for two days next month beer and wine will be off limits.

The Howard County Board of License Commissioners has suspended the liquor license of the convenience store in the 9000 block of Frederick Road for one weekend after the owner admitted selling alcohol to four underage patrons over a two-day span in December.

The board -- made up of members of the County Council -- fined owner Barrie A. Lau $500.

The panel also fined Cherry Tree Spirit Shoppe in the Cherry Tree Shopping Center in Scaggsville $250 for selling alcohol to an undercover police cadet without identification Jan. 28.

The penalty assessed against the 7-Eleven is surprising since the board usually reserves such punishment for repeat offenders.

"I was hoping for a fine, since it was the first time in 15 years," Lau said. "I was hoping that my good record would have outweighed the severity of the case."

The penalties stem from two incidents Dec. 20, when an employee at the convenience store sold four bottles of beer to a 20-year-old man without requesting identification, and a case of beer to another underage customer who produced false identification, according to a decision and order released by the board Tuesday.

The document also noted that two 19-year-old women purchased a bottle of wine the next day without being asked to show identification.

Detective Martin Johnson, the county's alcoholic beverage inspector, told the board that he sent an undercover police cadet without identification into the convenience store to buy alcohol that same month, but an employee refused the sale.

Lau said his employees have taken alcohol awareness courses to prevent further errors. He also acknowledged the mistakes.

"They're basically right," Lau said of the board. "How can I fault them for what they did? Unfortunately, I have to live with it."

Pub Date: 7/23/98

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