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CLAYTON COUNTY, GA -- Clayton County police issued citations to 22 businesses Friday night, charging them with selling alcohol to minors.
Police issued the citations after sending underage decoys, ages 14 to 18, into the businesses, along with adult undercover officers, to try to buy alcoholic drinks.
According to police, as of late Friday night, they had gone into 81 restaurants, bars and convenience stores with the minors, and had cited 22 of the businesses for selling alcohol to minors. That's 27 percent of them.
"It was real simple," said one of the decoys, Jordan Scott. Scott is a 17-year-old Clayton County Police Explorer.
His first stop -- an Applebees restaurant on Tara Boulevard.
Scott and his adult undercover police partner went into the Applebees and asked the server for a beer.
"And he said 'Do you have your ID on you?', and I told him 'No', and he said 'I can't do it'," Scott said.
So Scott and the plain-clothes officer walked next door to Sharp's Bar.
Scott said that he was able to order a beer there.
"I walked in, and my partner, we asked for two Bud Lights, and she just gave 'em up before even asking us anything, just gave it to us," he said. "So it was that simple."
No one with the business would comment.
Clayton County police sent a total of 60 officers along with eight underage decoys to try to check all 173 businesses in the county that sell alcohol.
The Hooters on Tara Boulevard would not sell alcohol to an underage decoy.
But at the JR Crickets on Tara Boulevard, police said an underage decoy was able to order alcohol.
The owners declined comment.
Just one offense carries penalties of a $2,000 fine, possibly six months in jail, and the possible loss of the business's liquor license.
Police are doing this now because they said problems with teen drinking increase when school is out.
"It's the beginning of the party season for these teens, and [businesses] know that," said Clayton County Police Captain Tina Daniel. "I mean it's illegal, and they're contributing to the delinquency of these minors. And it's just something we're not going to have in this county."
"I feel like I'm helping [the businesses] and helping the youth in the area," Jordan Scott said, "Because now they won't sell to any other minors, you know. And that's good for them, too."
Clayton County police are realists. They know they can't stop all underage drinking.
But they said they can make it more difficult for minors to buy alcohol in Clayton County.
Out of the 81 businesses checked as of late Friday night, police had issued a total of 42 citations on various violations of their liquor licenses. And of those 42 citations, 22 of them were for serving/selling alcohol to minors.
Late Friday night, Clayton County police released this statement:
On December 17, 2010, at 6:00 p.m., the Clayton County Police Department began phase 2 of "Operation Scrooge."
We are trying to increase our resident's standard of living by addressing quality of life crimes, concentrating on repeat offenders.
"Operation Scrooge" focuses on recidivism and the effects crime has on our community.
The concentration tonight surrounds alcoholic beverage sales to minors. This particular crime is very harmful because juveniles who can purchase alcoholic beverages have a greater chance of causing tragic events.
All parties who have any role in minors obtaining alcoholic beverages in Clayton County will be properly charged with a criminal offense. Servers who do not display their credentials will be citied for the violation. Any businesses that have alcoholic beverage advertisement that can be seen from outside the store will be citied. It is a necessity that we enforce these laws because it enhances the quality of life in Clayton County.
During Operation Scrooge Phase 2:
81 businesses were checked, 22 businesses sold alcoholic beverages to minors, and a total of 42 citations were issued.
Locations that sold alcoholic beverages to minors:
Sharp's Bar 6703 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
J.R. Crickets 6608 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
Red Lobster 6550 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
Pinstrikes 3478 Mt. Zion Rd., Stockbridge, Ga. 30281
Exxon 4531 Old Dixie Hwy, Forest Park, Ga. 30297
BP 199 Upper Riverdale Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
Casa Blanca 5765 Old Dixie Hwy, Forest Park, Ga. 30297
Shell Food Mart 222 Upper Riverdale Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
Catalina Supermarket 4110 Old Dixie Hwy., Hapeville, Ga. 30354
Super C 6550 Hwy 42, Rex, Ga. 30273
Shell Gas Station 8550 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga. 30296
Bella Vista Food Mart 699 Rountree Rd. Suite K, Riverdale, Ga.
BP Food Mart 35 Hwy 138 SW, Riverdale, Ga.
Chevron Food Mart #85 7530 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga
Citgo Food Mart 8425 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga.
BP Amoco Express 8426 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga.
Shell Food Mart #555 524 Flint River Rd., Riverdale, Ga
BP @ Helmer Rd. 8439 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga.
Quick Save Food Mart 136 Hwy 138 Suite 100, Riverdale, Ga.
Shell Food Mart #2 8550 Hwy 85, Riverdale, Ga.
Rocky's 8113 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro, Ga.
Benefield's 6324 Old Dixie Hwy., Jonesboro, Ga