MACEDONIA — Store employees who sell alcohol in the city may want to be extra careful about checking that customers are old enough to purchase, as underage buyers could be working with the police.
Two women were charged with first-degree misdemeanor liquor sales to an underage person June 25 after they allegedly sold alcoholic beverages to a 20-year-old woman, not realizing that she was actually a city intern recruited by the police to go into stores and attempt to make the purchases. The operation is one way police test whether state law on underage liquor sales is being adhered to.
According to police reports, the arrests were part of a periodic "liquor detail," in which police and the woman visited every service station store in the city, as well as a Macedonia Commons Boulevard store, all on the same day.
At a Highland Road service station, police said a 26-year-old Kent woman working as a cashier, sold the intern a six-pack of beer, even though the intern provided her date of birth indicating she was under 21 years old.
Police said video and audio evidence of the transaction showed that when the Kent woman initially inputed the birth date, the computer system would not allow the transaction to go through, but then the woman inputed a random date and the sale was made.
Police said that when they confronted the Kent woman, she told them she was new on the job and believed that the intern was old enough. According to the report, the store manager told police that the woman had been trained in how to handle such transactions and ignored an alert that the intern was not old enough to purchase alcohol.
At the Macedonia Commons store, an 18-year-old Garfield Heights woman was similarly charged after she sold the intern beer. In that case, said police, video evidence showed that the employee never asked the intern for her date of birth and just keyed in a random date to allow the sale to go through.
Police said the woman told them that she also believed the intern was old enough, but the store manager said the sale should not have occurred because he recently sent a memo to employees providing information about liquor sales to underage persons.
Both women were charged in Macedonia Mayor's Court.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.