Police: Six Auburn stores busted for selling alcohol to minors
AUBURN (WGME) -- Police say six Auburn stores sold alcohol to minors when a compliance check was conducted across Androscoggin County last week.
Shaw's, Hannaford, Walmart, Mobil Mart on Center Street, Rite-Aid on Minot Ave. and J&S Oil all failed.
"We're very disappointed," said Auburn Police Deputy Chief Jason Moen.
Last week, Auburn Police, and authorities throughout the county, conducted a sting at 106 stores.
"It was two officers and an underage male that went to the stores," said Moen. "The male put alcohol on the counter and if he was asked for ID, he was told to say, 'I forgot it.'"
Police said the six stores in Auburn sold it to him anyway.
"It's concerning for us that these six stores, especially the four major chains, failed the compliance check because they have some pretty strict standards in place," said Moen.
This time the alcohol ended up with police, but the real concern is when it goes home with minors.
"I mean one, yes it's illegal and that's a big thing," said Dan Morin, of Healthy Androscoggin, which provided funds for the compliance check. "And then you've got health consequences.Teenage brains are still developing."
It's not all bad news. 100 stores across the county did pass the compliance check, like Rooper's on Main Street in Auburn.
"Well, I know Mr. Steve Rooper will be wicked happy with us," said Romeo Stebbins, a cashier.
Stebbins said he and other employees underwent training to learn how to properly check IDs and spot fakes. He said failing a check, means getting fired.
"I get paranoid, but I know I card everybody, so we are doing our job," he said. "We card like crazy, people get irritated with us."
The failure rate was 5.6 percent in the county, far below the average rate of 15 percent according to the state.
David Heidrich Jr. with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services said each business could face a fine up to $1,800 if it's their first offense. The Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations has been levying fines of $550 for first-time offenders in the hopes of encouraging better employee training and compliance. Repeat offenders could have their liquor license suspended and could face much higher fines if the violations are not addressed.
CBS 13 reached out to all of the stores that failed, and heard back from just Hannaford and Walmart. Both companies said they emphasize compliance and train employees who sell alcohol.