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By Brian Boyd
Standard-Times staff writer
October 23, 2008 6:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD - A liquor store that has a history of selling alcohol to minors was shut down for 50 days after it was caught again in a sting operation, officials said.
County Street Liquor Store, 113 County St., had to close Wednesday and cannot reopen until Dec. 10, said Steven A. Beauregard, chairman of the city's Licensing Board. The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission conducted the sting in April with an underage buyer.
"We take the selling or serving of alcohol to minors very seriously - both the city and the ABCC - and the penalty is indicative of that," Mr. Beauregard said.
The store's liquor license was suspended from Nov. 21, 2007, to Jan. 11, 2008, for eight counts of selling alcohol to people under 21. Those charges stemmed from ABCC investigators' surveillance of the store over two days in September. The ABCC suspended County Street Liquor's license for 38 days, and the city's Licensing Board added days to the suspension.
The owner, Matthew Van Do, could not be reached for comment. The ABCC's decision said "the licensee stipulated to the facts."
On April 30, 2008, less than five months after the earlier suspension, a 17-year-old girl who was working for the ABCC bought a Heineken beer for $3 at the store. The store clerk did not ask for identification, according to the decision.
The sting was part of compliance checks the ABCC was conducting in the New Bedford area, said Ted Mahony, the commission's chief investigator.
"After the charges and the penalty they went through last time, I was shocked they would have failed the compliance check," Mr. Mahony said. "I thought they would be far more vigilant. This is a young person. They didn't ask for ID."
The commission takes the history of licensees into consideration when deciding on penalties, he said.
In the previous incidents, ABCC investigators began watching the store on Sept. 13, 2007, after a UMass Dartmouth police officer had stopped two vehicles carrying 18- and 19-year-olds who had large quantities of alcohol. They identified County Street Liquor as their source, Mr. Mahony said in an earlier interview.
That day, investigators who were watching the store saw an 18-year-old with two bottles of Bacardi Big Apple and a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka. They also observed a 19-year-old with vodka and another with a 30-pack of Miller Lite beer, the commissioners wrote in their decision.
On Sept. 14, ABCC investigators saw an 18-year-old woman leaving the store with three bottles of vodka and a bottle of Bacardi Razz. She said she had used her sister's expired driver's license, according to the decision.
Later in the day, the investigators saw an 18-year-old man leaving the store with a bottle of vodka and a six-pack of Bud Light beer.
He told investigators he used a UMass ID to buy the alcohol. They also found a 19-year-old man with an 18-pack of Bud Light and a pint of Bacardi Rum.
He allegedly used a state driver's license with a photo that did not resemble him.
Also, the investigators observed an 18-year-old with two cases of Bud Light and a 17-year-old with a bottle of Southern Comfort and a bottle of Jagermeister.
Regarding the new suspension, Mr. Mahony said, "Clearly, we hope it sends a message to individuals who sell alcohol there are severe penalties that can be applied if they continue to do so."
Mr. Beauregard said the Licensing Board will carry out enforcement operations during the holidays.

Zombie Hunter
4,815 Posts
See now this is a "sting" operation.

So endeth the lesson.
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