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Local News

June 15, 2014

8 store clerks busted in beer sting

DUNCAN — Eight convenience store clerks in Duncan sold beer to an underage buyer during a police sting and were cited for the misdemeanor offense.

Three of the clerks lost their jobs, a store official said.

Clerks at 15 stores passed the alcohol compliance test on May 30 when an underage male, who agreed to work undercover, tried to buy beer and was refused, said police and a certified specialist with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network.

The compliance checks are done yearly to identify establishments that sell alcohol to underage buyers.

Duncan Police Lt.  Rick Lang, who oversaw the compliance test, said the  clerks who sold beer to minors, instead of their employers,  were cited for selling beer to minors.

“It was an individual action each time, so it’s the clerk who is  responsible,” Lang said.

Three Chisholm Corner workers were ticketed in the sting: Amelia Marzullo, Leandrew Ciesa and Ashley Malone.

Melony Simpson of Chisholm Corner said selling  beer to a minor results in immediate termination.

Terry Woodard of Love’s on 2nd and Main, Elizabeth Williams of Finish Line, Kevin Thomas of Get N’ Go and Ruby Horning of Gas Mart were also cited by the Duncan Police Department for selling  beer to minors.

Representatives from each location were unavailable for comment.

Selling beer to a minor is subject to a fine of up to $300, under the Duncan City Code.

Lang said until now the compliance tests have only been done once a year, but after the low compliance rate this year it may be time to have tests more often.

Before the alcohol sting, the youth who was sent into the stores to  buy beer was randomly presented to people who didn’t know him and asked how old he appeared to be, said   Kim Booker, a certified prevention specialist who helped arrange the alcohol compliance test.

“It’s an age perception test to see if the youth looks under 21,” she said.

She said the test could be considered entrapment if a youth who appeared to be 21 was used in the test.

The Wichita Mountains Prevention Network offers training to sales clerks to teach them how to conduct responsible sales.

“We offer it in Duncan each fiscal year,” Booker said. “It’s offered to each retailer throughout the county. We teach how not to oversell alcohol. Ideally it would be great to have everyone who sells alcohol in the area attend.”

Booker said that despite the fact that there have only been compliance tests once a year until now, she agrees with Lang and believes it may be time to do them more often.

“I would like the community to always do the right thing,” Booker said. “That’s why we do this. We want to keep underage kids from drinking.”

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