Cameras catch businesses serving underage customers - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cameras catch businesses serving underage customers


It's always been against the law, but police say local businesses continue to sell alcohol to underage customers. Soon, it could bring much tougher consequences.

Undercover video shows bartenders and store clerks asking for customers' IDs but not really checking them, and police said that mistake is now costing some businesses.

"We noticed that there was a problem, a big problem," said DeWayne Holman, with the Nashville Prevention Partnership.

Holman's organization works with Metro police to find businesses selling alcohol to people under 21 years old by using teens who go in trying to buy.

During a recent undercover operation, officers found some places are following the rules like a bar at 5th and Church, where a bartender looks at the teen's ID and then refuses to sell.

However, surveillance at the Alley Dog in Printer's Alley shows a woman checking ID but selling to the young person anyway.

And BB Kings' on 2nd Avenue is in trouble again - busted twice recently for underage sells.

"Some of these places are blaming other people. 'It's the doorkeepers fault or it's the bouncers fault.' Well, as a server or a bartender, you are required to check the ID," Holman said.

Last month, Channel 4 News reported that half of the businesses officers had checked one night were caught breaking the law, even with big signs claiming they check ID.

In some cases, it seems the clerks were too distracted, including some talking on the phone.

Now, in the most recent operation, 20 percent of businesses checked sold to those underage. It's an improvement, but Holman said that's still too many.

"So I think that people get the message, but it really is a matter of making sure that we enforce the laws and make sure that we as a community say that we don't accept underage drinking," he said.

Businesses that sell to underage people face several a $2,500 fine. On the fourth offense, they lose their liquor license all together.

In a statement to Channel 4 News, management at BB Kings' said their top priority is to take the necessary steps to ensure this does not occur again, and they are adding training elements for workers.

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