The blond woman asking for a Coors Lite draft at Bill Bateman's Harford Road bar looked a bit young to barmaid Patricia Ann Umerley, so she asked for identification.
Gwen Sell, a 19-year old undercover Baltimore County police cadet, replied that she had none with her. Umerley, according to police reports of the Sept. 19 incident, checked with another barmaid about whether she should take a chance and serve Sell a beer.
Persons buying liquor in Maryland must be 21 years old.
Sell said it was OK if she wasn't served, that she'd just go somewhere else, the report said. Umerley then put the beer down in front of the young woman and collected $1.
That lapse of judgment cost license-holder William Jackson Bateman a $250 fine and a black mark on his bar's record with the County Liquor Board.
The bar, in the 10100 block of Harford Road, was one of four fined $250 this week as part of the board's decision to increase the punishment for licensees whose employees are caught for the first time serving alcohol to minors.
Until recently, the board normally suspended penalties for first offenses. But Chairman William R. Snyder said last week that the board now believes that fines carry a more immediate, attention-getting warning.
Another of the four bars fined this week, the Loft in the 100 block of Back River Neck Road, was also ordered to close Jan. 6 and 7, since it was the second violation for licensees Joseph M. Furst and Eugene Adler in the past year.
Sell, the undercover police cadet, bought a six-pack of beer at the Loft Sept. 19 and walked out without it after cashier Thomas Lantieri took payment.
"You forgot your beer," the helpful Lantieri called after her, as two county vice detectives approached to let him in on what had actually happened.
A third case involved the Ten Mile House in the 9400 block of Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills. Owner Charles E. Patterson told the board on Monday that he is a member of the board of directors of the county's Licensed Beverage Association, which sponsors classes to train workers on how to avoid serving alcoholic beverages to minors.