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Police fine 6 Pleasanton businesses for selling liquor to minors

Original post made on Aug 16, 2009

Officers conducting an underage decoy sting in Pleasanton last Wednesday fined six businesses suspected of supplying alcohol to a minor, police reported yesterday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 16, 2009, 8:41 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm

"Officers conducting an underage decoy sting in Pleasanton last Wednesday fined six businesses..."

Wouldn't you think they'd get a trial or hearing first?? What'd the officers do with the money??


Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

My guess is that the offenders were cited and will be fined at a later date if they choose not to contest the citation.

Help me to understand the use of succeeded in "police volunteers succeeded the six businesses."

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 16, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Thank you Pleasanton Police! BUSTED!

This is wonderful news!

Posted by Kelly
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Mike-- I think it's supposed to say "succeeded in purchasing alcohol at six businesses". And you are correct, the businesses were issued citations and have been given court dates at which time they can contest it if they choose.

Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 16, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Of course they were 'cited', not fined. And of course the volunteers 'succeeded in purchasing.. '.

Am I the only one disturbed by having to 'interpret a news story'?????


Posted by Grace
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:31 am

unclehommerr said:

"Of course they were 'cited', not fined. And of course the volunteers 'succeeded in purchasing.. '.

Am I the only one disturbed by having to 'interpret a news story'?????"

Not at all... my 85-year-old-mother told me that she had volunteered her services many, many years ago to proof-read the Livermore Independent articles before publication due to SO many obvious errors appearing in the final print, but that they had never responded, apparently feeling that they were delivering a superior, "bang-up" service. Many years later, I see the same problem with the Pleasanton Weekly, and I wonder: do they even check over their material before "publishing", whether on the web or in the print edition? And perhaps "print" is not the medium of first choice now, but glaring spelling and/or grammatical or logical erros are STILL quite obvious and unnerving.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Aug 17, 2009 at 1:55 am

What do you suppose the "police observers" did with the booze since there had to be a sale before any law was broken...

If they store it in the "evidence locker" until the case is resolved, what happens to it then...

Just curious...

Posted by Testy Tess
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 8:32 am

This is a common problem in many newspapers today, profession writing and proofreading have declined precipitously. The poor writing, including improper punctuation and poor grammar is startling. Unfortunately, newspapers are in vicious circle. Their businesses have been impacted by the internet and the political bias they infuse in their coverage. This has resulting in consolidation, less competition from other newspapers, and major layoffs. Those reductions lead to poorer quality and even less value to their customers, resulting in even fewer readers. They are in a death spiral.

Having said that, even the leanest of operations should be using software for spelling and grammar checking! I'm sure it won't be long before newspaper articles will be include cryptic text messaging and tweeting abbreviations and phrases. OMG!

Posted by Jason the Mason
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 8:40 am

That's just wonderful. I've always liked Raley's, but the current management of the Pleasanton store is out to lunch, and the corporate management in Sacto seems to have gone downhill as well. Likely outcome will be that Raley's Pleasanton will have their liqour license suspended for a period of time, 3-12 months, and a subsequent infraction could lead to the loss of their liquor license. Looks like I will now have to buy all my hooch from BevMo.

I hope the cops also site the parents of the kids that were attempting to buy the booze.

Posted by Sue
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

The boys were "police Decoys" why would they get cited? They were working for the police.

The clerk that sells the liquor gets a fine and a write-up and probation. The store gets a large fine and a slap on the hand.

Posted by erryja
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

Good work Pleasanton Police Department .....those of you who have and know teenagers, this is a growing problem. Many of the kids find a way to even secure fake ID's that even complicate this underage issue.
The word is that Pleasanton has become an easy place for under age to purchases beer, wine and other spirits.
If you don't believe this ask a teen who will fess up.
Thanks PPD for helping to keep our roads and city safe.

Posted by Chuck
a resident of Dublin
on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Jason the Mason...
Raleys will likely be cited if this is a first offense. Unless there are continuing problems with selling to minors as the Safeway in Castro Valley did (Web Link nothing but a mere fine will be issued to the management.

Posted by yomama
a resident of Amador Estates
on Aug 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Fined! Big deal! They should lose their liquor license if found guilty (in my opinion).

Posted by D.
a resident of Birdland
on Aug 17, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I've heard that a "shoulder - tap" usually does the trick for most kids. If the adults that buy for kids were to get busted a few times maybe that would deter the activity.

Posted by Kristen
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 17, 2009 at 6:55 pm

In response to Jerry: The alcohol that is purchased is put back in the store and the cops get the money back that the decoys used to purchase it. They don't keep the alcohol for evidence.

Posted by marym
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Aug 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

These business also run the risk of losing or having their liquor license suspended or revoked if the ABC decides to. Working in F&B, my company is very serious about liquor policy. You don't want to mess with the ABC.

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Remember, that a lot of times these are young people who are doing the selling. Everyone wants to rip the license from Raley's (or whoever) but they can only train, teach, and do so much. In the end, it comes down to a guy or girl at the register who will allow the alcohol to be sold. For some kids, it may be difficult to ask for ID - yes yes yes, the store needs to trains and make sure, but again, at the end of the day, its still the person at the register and sometimes to them its not that big of a deal - and to them really, what are the odds of getting caught.

Posted by Ralph Former Retail Clerk
a resident of Civic Square
on Aug 18, 2009 at 1:02 am

OK, so here’s the deal to make it short & simple—On the night of Wednesday, August 12th, the Pleasanton PD conducted an alcohol buying “sting” operation using a couple of their 18 year olds (underage age adults-not minors!—who probably look 25 years old) from one of their “service units”. They went into 21 locations & 6 of the businesses (28.5% of those tested), failed the test—they sold the booze to the 18 year olds.

Now what gets me, is that a plastic (not temporary paper) valid CA driver’s license has a red stripe across the front of it and imprinted in that stripe is the statement “will be 21 on birthday in xxxx (year)” or something to that effect. For a clerk to miss that means to me the clerk either is dumber than a door knob or never asked to see the ID.

But wait—the article says, “with valid identification….according to police”, and we all know, the cops never lie & tell the whole truth & nothing but the truth (as they see it), so help their conviction rate.

So what were these 6 different clerks at these 6 stores looking at—a high school or college ID, an out of state drivers license, a military or dependant’s ID card, a passport from who knows where, a valid paper non photo CA drivers license or something else, that the cops contend is “valid identification”?

And while 15 of the 21 tested locations caught the under-agers—6 didn’t. Why not? While it is no excuse, probably the clerk was not familiar with what he/she was looking at (I can’t believe they could miss the red stripe on the front of the plastic CA DL), failed to ask for ID (in which case get out your checkbook) or the store (Raley’s) was so understaffed and busy that the clerk didn’t have time to thoroughly examine and comprehend what ever it was that he/she was looking at.

As to the concerns about the stores—it will only be a fine that will be considered “a cost of doing business” and the store will throw the employee under the bus & blame everything on the employee---not following procedures, violating company policy, blah…blah…blah…
ABC isn’t going to do anything to the businesses liquor licenses—they don’t want the loss of the state tax revenue.
Since this is a Pleasanton PD operation a big fine against the business—that would be OK & be additional income to our city; another successful police operation.

The employee is screwed—possibly fired---suspended for at least a week at Raley’s (there goes $240--700 in wages per week), $500-$1,000+ in fines and court costs, probation, community service & it’s associated costs, and has a criminal conviction on their record, until they get it expunged or sealed, years in the future.
Not to mention attorney’s fees (store clerk’s usually are in the $8-20 range, $20 if they are very lucky)—any attorney’s taking “pro bono” or “modest means” cases out there?

Sort of seems to me that the businesses should bear the brunt of the punishment, not the employee-assuming ID was asked for. After all, it is the business that profits from the sale, has a vested interest in the sale going through, and probably helped create the situation by poor training or understaffing.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2009 at 8:36 am

To Ralph Former Retail Clerk - when I was in college, as part of a criminal justice program, I used to do this for the Berkeley Police. We always used our regular CA photo ID licences if asked for ID, since the police department was not looking for false entrapment of the businesses, but rather looking for businesses that did not follow the normal procedures of checking a routine driver's licence. I would like to assume that the PPD decoys did the same. They will cite enough businesses who do not check IDs at all without having to resort to tricking the business with falsified IDs.

Posted by Katie
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Resident is correct. Decoys that participate in alcohol stings always use their CA issued licenses. The point isn't to trick or entrap anyone. The point is to catch stores that are selling to those who are underage, at which time they are cited and ABC has the option of yanking their licenses to sell alcohol. The goal is to have every store in compliance with the law, and just like speeding tickets serve to remind you not to speed, these citations serve to remind stores that there are consequences to selling alcohol to those under 21. I'm sure PPD would much rather have a 0% sell rate than the almost 30% sell rate they got last week.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm

oh hi missy katie...psychologist of maladaptive behavior (snicker) ole mule!


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