Teen loquor sales targeted

October 02, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Teen liquor sales targeted

A recent three-day sweep of more than 50 Washington County establishments that sell liquor will result in six of them being charged with selling alcohol to underage cadets.

Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Michael Potter said summonses will be issued within the next few days to the six individuals who allegedly sold the alcohol.

The penalty for a conviction on the charge is up to two years in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, according to Maryland law.

The six establishments where liquor was sold to the cadets, including two for which they are repeat violations, could face action by the Board of License Commissioners of Washington County, better known as the liquor board.


Don Mellott, the chairman of the liquor board, didn't return telephone calls Monday.

Potter said the procedure is to send underage police cadets into the establishments to get alcohol and take it to the counter for purchase.

Each had his own driver's license with a correct date of birth showing he was under 21, Potter said.

"If asked for their age, they were told not to lie," Potter said.

In five of the establishments that sold to the underage cadets, Potter said identification was shown and still the sale was made.

Only one place didn't ask for identification before selling, Potter said.

All of the locations were outside the city limits of Hagerstown, Potter said.

One liquor store owner said he welcomed the scrutiny and said it was needed.

"Many owners and operators are getting sloppy," said Bill Albowicz of Hoff's Liquors in Clear Spring.

Albowicz said a cadet approached the counter with liquor on the day Hoff's Liquors was targeted.

"I asked him his age and he said he was 18," Albowicz said. "I refused and told him to come back in three years."

Albowicz said he learned his lesson many years ago and has been strict ever since. Everyone who works for him is instructed to check identification before making liquor sales.

"It was very fairly done," Albowicz said, noting the cadet didn't look older than his actual age nor did he lie when asked for his age.

The six who are to be charged will appear in Washington County District Court in the near future.

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