Deputies bust clerks selling beer to underage drinkers

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - Deputies in Tipton County are cracking down on underage drinking by targeting businesses who sell alcohol to people under age 21.

A recent undercover sting gave insight into stores consistently selling to minors.

"Our cashiers automatically ID them. It doesn't matter if they're 19 or 90, or if it's my grandmother or your grandmother - they're ID'd," said store manager Joelle May.

Fast Times, a south Tipton County convenience store, was one of eight locations that did not sell booze to minors.  Tipton County deputies actually used undercover agents to buy the beer.  Some store clerks fell for it, while others didn't.

In all, 27 citations were issued to 14 beer permit holders or store clerks who actually sold the beer to underage drinkers.

Store customers said they were happy to see the crackdown.

"If I left my ID at home, I'd go all the way back to my house before I stop here. I don't chance it anymore," customer Kevin Koss said.

Besides asking for ID, some stores who did not sell actually had a scanner that stopped the sale.

In about thirty seconds, store clerks are able to check and see if the customer is of age.

"It gives name and age and it will validate whether or not it is a true drivers' license and will actually indicate if it's a fraudulent document," said Tipton County Sheriff's Department Deputy Chief Donna Turner.

For stores that upheld the law, being tough is ultimately what could save lives.

"If it's sold, the cashier was fired on the spot, period," May said.

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