By David Kapitan
The Wills Point Police Department conducted a two-pronged series of tobacco and alcohol stings at local businesses on December 3, utilizing decoys to help curb the ease with which minors can get alcohol and tobacco related products.
As part of the operation, plain clothed Wills Point police officers sent minor decoys with no ties to the community into establishments looking to purchase alcohol or tobacco.
The minor decoys used in the operation cannot misrepresent their age in any way and, if asked, must provide their proper I.D. cards showing themselves to be underage. Additionally, local business managers and owners are not aware of when the Wills Point Police Department will conduct the stings.
The minor decoys attempted 16 purchases at local businesses, with two attempts resulting in successful purchases of alcohol and subsequent arrests.
One arrest was made at Brookshire’s grocery after a 16-year-old cashier allowed one of the 17-year-old decoys to purchase a six-pack of beer. According to the police report, the cashier asked to see the decoy’s I.D. card and entered his information into the register.
The cashier re-checked the decoy’s I.D., which clearly identified him as being underage, before telling the decoy “the total is $7.89.” The decoy took the beer and change to the undercover officers stationed near the scene, who then entered the business, advised the manager of the situation, and arrested the cashier.
A similar situation unfolded at the Wills Point Tire Drive-Thru, where 29-year-old Megan Moore was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor decoy.
Following the first phase of the operation, the Wills Point Police Department and decoys transitioned to “Shoulder Tap Stings.” In a Shoulder Tap Sting, the minor decoys approach adults outside of retail establishments, advise that they are not old enough to purchase alcohol, and offer the adult money to enter the business and purchase the alcoholic beverages for him/her.
The Shoulder Tap Sting resulted in one arrest, 55-year-old Vickie Jo Britton of Canton. According to the police report of the incident, a minor decoy approached Britton outside of the 24-Hour Market asking if she would purchase alcohol.
Britton initially refused, before approaching the minor decoys and agreeing to purchase the alcohol. Britton was quoted as saying that she would “kill” the minor decoys if they got her in trouble before entering the establishment and purchasing the beer.
Britton gave the minor decoys the alcohol, who then left the scene to meet up with police officers. Britton was pulled over and arrested after exiting the parking lot for purchasing of alcohol for a minor.
Following the arrests, the Wills Point Police Department advised that they are “planning to conduct several of these operations in the near future.”
Alcohol, Tobacco Stings Net Three Arrests
By David Kapitan