Liquor outlets fined for sales to underaged

3 clerks misread licenses in allowing the purchases

September 26, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Underage citizens didn't need fake identifications at three Howard County stores where clerks checked authentic driver's licenses handed over by underage police cadets - and sold them alcohol anyway.

The three sales last year cost owners of the three establishments a collective $1,750 in fines imposed by the alcoholic Beverage Hearing Board this month.

The stiffest fine ($750) went to Jeffrey and Debra Ditter and Daniel Roberston Jr., of Atlantic Concessions, who operate Bun Penny Market and Cafe at The Mall in Columbia. Just before Christmas, a clerk sold an underage police intern a six-pack of beer - even after examining her driver's license.

Jeffrey Ditter told the board that the store has taken more precautions after a similar case two years ago - it offers a $50 reward to any clerk who asks for identification from an underage cadet. Now he is telling employees that any side-profile picture on a license means the customer is too young to buy alcohol. The clerk was suspended for a week.

Charles Ernest of Whiskey Bottom Liquors in the 9100 block of N. All Saints Road got hit with a $650 fine after an incident Aug. 30, 2001, in which an underage police cadet bought Mike's Hard Lemonade from a clerk who, again, looked a his license but "didn't compute the math accurately."

Ernest said this happened although he has posted at each cash register a daily calendar showing the latest birthday for a legal purchaser of alcohol.

A $350 fine was imposed on Florentine, George and Rosette Boarman, owners of Boarman's Meat market in the 13400 block of Route 108 for sale of a six-pack of beer Aug. 21, 2001, to an underage cadet who produced a driver's license when requested.

The Boarman family has had a liquor license since 1979 and brought in several neighborhood customers as support.

The clerk, a 16-year employee, also failed the math test despite the side-view photo used to identify people younger than 21 - the legal drinking age.

She is normally tough on underage customers trying to buy alcohol, the board was told, and was upset by her error.

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