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17 of 20 stores sold liquor to underage cadet, police say


Almost all of the 20 liquor stores police targeted during a prom season sting operation last week sold alcohol to underage, undercover police cadets, police said.

Only three of the 20 stores refused to sell to the cadets Tuesday, according to Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, police spokesman. One of them -- Cooksville Carry Out -- sold alcohol to a cadet and then asked for identification as the cadet was walking out the door.

"We're quite surprised to see a large number of businesses selling alcohol to them," Gardner said.

Police said they conducted the inspections to increase awareness among business owners and to emphasize the checking of identification during prom and graduation season.

"Alcohol continues to be the No. 1 problem with teens in the county," Gardner said. "We want to do our part to show business owners our concerns and for them to do their fair share of keeping youths away from alcohol."

Debbie Derwart, president of the county chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), hoped the police would continue the inspections and said she was concerned at the number of stores that sold liquor without asking for identification.

"I'm really surprised," she said. "Hopefully, it will make the store owners become more responsible to the law."

Police said the three stores that refused to sell liquor to the cadets were Lark Brown Liquors in Elkridge, and Mel's Liquors and Star Liquors, both in Jessup.

Two police cadets ages 19 and 20 attempted to buy alcohol without identification at stores in Columbia, Ellicott City and Woodbine, among other locations.

Gardner said police gave warnings to stores that sold them alcohol. Should these stores receive another warning within a year, their names will be sent to the Liquor Board, Gardner said.

"Some of the same businesses will be checked again," he said.

Gardner said police will set up surveillance in liquor store parking lots to see if legal drinkers are buying alcohol for minors.

Stores that sold liquor to underage cadets were: Danny Nolan's Irish Saloon and Elkridge Liquors in Elkridge; Dorsey Search Wine and Spirits, Harpers Choice Liquors, Allview Liquors and Kings Contrivance Liquors in Columbia; and Jason's Liquors and 7-Eleven in Ellicott City.

Stores elsewhere were: Island Liquors in Laurel; Cooksville Carry Out in Cooksville; Morgan Inn in Woodbine; Friendship Liquors in West Friendship; Beverage Shop in Lisbon; Olde Time Liquors in Glenelg; Woodstock Inn in Woodstock; Cherry Tree Spirit Shop in Scaggsville; and Robinson's Country Inn in Jessup.

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