An error in math leads to beer sale -- and a fine

Clerk checks ID, sells to underage police cadet


A college degree doesn't mean you can add - or more importantly subtract. The faulty math, however, cost a Howard County liquor store owner a fine of $250 after a clerk sold a six-pack of beer to an undercover, underage police cadet - despite inspecting the youth's identification.

John Doyle, licensee for Waterloo Liquors, was one of two county liquor license holders fined June 25 by the county Alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board for serving alcohol to underage police cadets.

The board also approved a new liquor license for a 3,900-square-foot restaurant in the historic district of Ellicott City - the Tiber River Inn, 3733 Old Columbia Pike, near Main Street. Gregory Tolker, Richard Shackelford and Phyllis Spence are the three licensees.

The board imposed a $400 fine on George Sheahin, licensee of Fulton Wine and Spirits in the 11800 block Scaggsville Road, who personally sold a six-pack of Zima to an underage police cadet without asking for identification.

The board noted that although Sheahin admitted making the sale Aug. 29, he "seemed defensive rather than contrite." His lawyer, Louis Nippard, argued that using police cadets to test compliance with liquor laws is a form of entrapment that encourages sales to minors.

Doyle, meanwhile, told the board at a hearing May 14 that his temporary clerk, college graduate Kacy Jenkins, made the sale because of "bad math" and he chased after the cadet when he realized what had happened. By that time, however, the sale was complete, the board ruled, and Detective Martin Johnson issued the citation.

Doyle said that from now on, employees who sell alcohol to minors will have to pay the resulting fine out of their salaries.

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