The operation was funded by the state’s Alcohol and Beverage Control and enlisted underage young people from outside the area to try — under an officer’s supervision — to buy alcoholic drinks from stores. Other decoys tried a shoulder-tap tactic to get an adult to buy drinks for them.
Minors were able to buy alcohol from clerks at Nob Hill Foods, both Shell stations in the city, the Union 76 station and Scotts Valley Gas and Mart.
According to Lt. John Hohmann, three of the five alcohol sales took place even after the decoys had shown identification that stated their correct underage date of birth.
The decoys, Hohmann said, were selected to appear obviously younger than age 21 — no piercings, no tattoos, no facial hair — and, if asked, were required to reveal their real age.
Citations, according to police, were issued to the individual clerks, not the businesses. Each carries a minimum fine of $1,000 and 24 hours of community service.
The shoulder-tap operation found no adults who would agree to buy alcohol for the decoys.
Hohmann praised Malone’s Grille, the Village Bottle Shop, 7-Eleven, QuikStop and the Valero station for carding and refusing to sell any alcohol to the decoys.