A 12-year-old was among the undercover operatives used by authorities last weekend to crack down on liquor establishments serving alcohol to minors.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office conducted random compliance checks at liquor stores, bars and restaurants in suburban communities to ensure compliance with state laws against the sale of liquor to anyone under 21.

Stings began last weekend, as teams visited businesses in Leyden, Maine and Wheeling" href="../topic/us/illinois/cook-county/wheeling-PLGEO1001005011480000.topic">Wheeling Townships. Sheriff's Police officers partnered with high school and junior high school students for the underage compliance sweep. Out of 18 businesses visited, five sold alcohol to minors.

In Maine and Wheeling Townships, investigators, along with a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old, 17- year-old, and two 18-year-olds, visited eight establishments on Saturday, including a chain drugstore, smaller convenience stores, liquor stores and bars. Undercover investigators watched as the minors entered the businesses and attempted to purchase or order alcohol.

Among those eight businesses was Premier Billiards & Café, located at 2626 Golf Rd. in unincorporated Glenview. When the 12-year-old and the other teens ordered beer, a waitress there not only failed to ask for identification, but proceeded to fill their orders, according to the sheriff's office.

Also on Saturday, a pair of teenagers entered 10 Leyden Township businesses attempting to purchase alcohol. The teens were asked for identification each time and produced IDs distinctly designed to show they are underage. Six businesses refused to sell the teens alcohol. Four other businesses continued with the transaction and sold the minors alcohol.

The sheriff's department identified the establishments:
  • Possum's Pub, 2324 N. Mannheim Rd.
  • Convenient Place, 101 E. Grand Ave.
  • Ozzie's Food Store, 1158 W. Grand Ave.
  • Tequilaz Bar and Grill, 11220 W. Grand Ave.
Sheriff Tom Dart said the undercover efforts will continue throughout the suburbs. The penalty for businesses that violate underage drinking laws usually starts at a $500 fine.