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Area stores busted by deputies after selling alcohol to minors

by Susan Bromley

March 09, 2011

Brandon Twp.- Three area businesses will be fined by the Liquor Control Commission after clerks working at those businesses sold alcohol to an underage person last week.

A detective and deputy from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office conducted liquor compliance checks on several licensed liquor stores in the township on March 4 with the help of a woman who is under 21. The names of the businesses are being withheld pending completion of the investigation, said Sgt. Pete Burkett, Brandon substation commander.

Liquor and tobacco compliance checks are performed a few times per year in the township.

"It's hit or miss whether they are complying," said Burkett. "It depends on the clerk and what the manager has instilled as far as checking identification. If they look under the age of 30, check them."

Burkett said kids look for places to buy alcohol and kids from Goodrich have been frequenting one of the stores that sold liquor to the underage subject. This is also the second time in a month that one of the other stores was found selling alcohol to a person under 21.

"It's important that we as a community discourage underage drinking as much as we can," Burkett said. "Kids look for places to buy. We don't want to be the community with a reputation for selling to underage persons."

Two of the clerks who sold alcohol to the underage woman said they thought she looked old enough to buy. The third clerk said she thought she recognized the woman and had previously sold to her and checked her identification at that time. All three clerks were issued civil infraction violations for sale of liquor to a person under 21.

Three other area businesses were also checked and did not facilitate a sale of liquor to the underage subject. During a check at one of those businesses, a 21-year-old man who had just purchased alcohol backed his vehicle into the unmarked patrol car. The man, who had two 19-year-old passengers, said he didn't look behind him when reversing. A breath test showed he had a legal blood alcohol content of .05 percent.