Underage alcohol sting nets zero charges

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Police chief lauds local businesses

By Jesef Williams

The results of a recent underage alcohol sting had Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard singing the praises of several local businesses.

In a press release sent Monday afternoon, Howard lauded 15 Lancaster businesses for refusing to sell alcohol to an underage operative. The initiative, conducted Saturday, Feb. 16, was a joint operation between the Lancaster Police Department and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division.

“Citizens often read about businesses and individuals that have been cited for selling alcohol to minors. This is certainly something that is disturbing and distressing to know,” Howard said in the release. 

“I am pleased to report that of the 15 businesses that were visited on that day, no one sold alcohol to the operative that was working with law enforcement officials.”

As part of the operation, SLED agents and police officers sent the underage operative to each of the 15 businesses in order to buy alcohol. 

The operative was given money and tasked with purchasing various alcoholic products, though no sales were made, the press release said.

Howard called the results a positive event for Lancaster residents

“I believe that this is a resounding indication that proprietors recognize the seriousness of underage alcohol sales and are making sure that their employees are complying with the law,” Howard said.

The 15 businesses who refused to sell alcohol to the underage operative are: 

– Bypass Stop and Go, 1313 E. Meeting St.

– The Market Store, 604 S. Market St.

– S&S Food Mart, 414 S.C. 9 Bypass East

– Westgate Exxon, 1101 W. Meeting St.

– CVS, 333 S.C. 9 Bypass East

– 903 Discount Beverage, 720 Chesterfield Ave.

– Walgreens, 1101 S.C. 9 Bypass West

– Family Food Store, 715 S. Market St.

– Rite Aid, 201 N. Main St.

– Murphy’s Express, 1260 S.C. 9 Bypass West

– Midway Grocery, 426 W. Meeting St.

– Citgo, 1200 N. Main St.

– Fuel Express, 427 W. Meeting St.

– Dollar General, 1002 N. Main St.

– Dollar General, 501 E. Arch St.

According to the press release, the case was closed with no charges or citations issued.

The results are dramatically different compared to two other similar stings conducted by SLED and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office during the past 14 months.

During a larger operation in December 2011, deputies sent an underage operative to 32 stores throughout the county, resulting in the citation of nine store workers for selling alcohol.

In May 2012, an underage operative was sent into several stores in Heath Springs and Kershaw, and six convenience store workers were cited for selling alcohol to a minor. 

Five other stores refused to sell alcohol in that sting.


 Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416