ROCKLAND, Maine — Three Rockland businesses were issued summonses Tuesday after police said the establishments sold liquor to underage customers the previous night.
The charges were the result of a concerted effort by the Rockland Police Department to crack down on such sales.
Wal-Mart, China Coast Restaurant and Mr. Mike’s convenience store were issued summonses Tuesday, according to Rockland Deputy Police Chief Wally Tower.
The department had received a government grant to pay officers overtime to monitor businesses that have licenses to sell liquor in the city. The department used people who were under 21 years old but not juveniles under 18 to go in the stores and businesses in an attempt to purchase liquor, according to the deputy chief.
There were about 15 businesses in which the young people attempted to buy liquor, but only the three establishments issued summonses agreed to sell to the youths.
The sale at Mr. Mike’s on Park Street occurred at 5:20 p.m. Monday, the Wal-Mart sale occurred at 6:20 p.m., and the China Coast sale was at 7 p.m. Tower did not have more details on the sales.
A Wal-Mart shift supervisor who answered the phone Wednesday said the store cannot comment. The manager at China Coast also declined to comment on its case. A spokesman for the convenience store on Park Street was not immediately available.
Tower said the department regularly patrols bars to make sure sales are not being made to young people, and there are times when violations are found and summonses issued. This grant was an additional effort, he said.
The young people involved in the operation were not paid for their services, the deputy chief said.
Detective Sgt. Chris Young said that the department undertakes this type of enforcement a few times each year. This time, there were more violations than in the past. He said every store that sells liquor is checked by sending a youth. Restaurants and bars are checked on a random basis.
The youths who participate in the checks typically are related to someone on the force or known by a member of the department.
The fines for selling liquor to a minor range from $50 to $1,500 depending on whether there were previous offenses. Each business found in violation also could have its license to sell liquor suspended or revoked.