State Cracking Down on Selling Alcohol to Minors

State Cracking Down on Selling Alcohol to Minors

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Kimberly Houk ReportingThe Department of Public Safety is cracking down on places that sell alcohol to minors, and they're doing it by catching the transactions on video tape.

The State employs teens to go undercover and try to buy alcohol while wearing a tiny video camera. These teens are called CUBS, which stands for Covert Underage Buyer. There are 15 of them that work for the state and the only criteria for being hired is they have to look younger than 21.

Law enforcement officers want to make it clear they are not trying to trick anyone. They just want to stop a growing problem--under-aged drinking.

Stu Smith, Dept. of Public Safety: “What we're trying to do is have them look how they look and see if they are even checked. Because they are obviously young enough that they need to be checked."

But too many times minors are not being checked. And even when they are checked, they're still allowed to buy alcohol.

Stu Smith, Dept. of Public Safety: “People are just sloppy about the math and checking IDs."

So now officers are using CUBS wired with tiny video cameras to catch offenders. The CUBS always use their licenses that clearly indicate they are under 21. And if asked they always tell the truth about how old they are. The CUBS go out on Friday and Saturday nights to different places that sell alcohol and try to buy drinks. Twenty-one percent of the time they're successful.

Cub: “They usually tell us to get two bud lights in a bottle, because they can see the label and they know what it is."

On the video off one of the CUBS' cameras you can see a waitress come to the table with two beers and then she asks for I.D. It takes her 20 seconds to realize the kids are under-age, and she takes the beers away.

Later on at a different restaurant, a waiter asks for IDs before serving the alcohol and studies the ID for about three seconds. Moments later he returns with the beers. At this point detectives standing nearby give the waiter a ticket.

If found guilty, businesses face a five day suspension from selling any alcohol as well as a fine.

Law enforcement wants the undercover process to be a motivator for businesses to help them keep alcohol away from minors.

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