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Alcohol sales sting nets 12 ABC citations in Rocklin

Half of businesses visited sold to minors
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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Citations for selling alcohol to minors

Sting took place Nov. 14

El Mariachi, 1230 Sunset Blvd.

Wood’ys Grill, 6502 Lonetree Blvd.

Boneshakers Brewing Co., 2168 Sunset Blvd.

Wild Vines and Brew, 6506 Lonetree Blvd.

Cha Cha’s Cocina, 6130 Stanford Ranch Road

Round Table Pizza, 2319 Sunset Blvd.

Loree’s Little Shack by the Railroad Track, 4835 Pacific St.

AMF Rocklin Lanes, 2325 Sierra Meadows

Round Table Pizza, 4885 Granite Drive

Bangkok City, 5050 Rocklin Road No. A-12

Taqueria Rincon, 4790 Rocklin Road No. 4

Foster’s Pub, 4451 Pacific St.

Source: California Alcoholic Beverage Control

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control teamed up with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in an operation to test businesses throughout the county who sell alcohol to make sure they are not selling to minors. Rocklin police also work with the ABC.

“We want to make sure our businesses are following the line, following the rules,” said Rocklin Lt. Lon Milka.

Sales to minor violations can result in a fine, suspension or even revocation of the license, depending on the number of violations and the track record of the business. Twelve Rocklin businesses were reportedly caught in the sting and cited for selling alcohol to minors including: El Mariachi, Woody’s Grill, Boneshakers Brewing Co., Wild Vines and Brew, Cha Cha’s Cocina Mexicana, two Round Table Pizza locations, Loree’s Little Shack by the Railroad Track, AMF Rocklin Lanes, Bangkok City, Taqueria Rincon and Foster’s Pub. Spokespersons for the cited businesses either had no comment or managers could not be reached for comment.

“We will pursue administrative action against the businesses,” said ABC Public Information Officer John Carr. “The businesses also know there is a free training offered quarterly. The training classes are taught by an ABC law enforcement officer and teach responsible service of alcoholic beverages.”

Individuals as well as the business they represent were cited in the operations, but their names were not made public by the ABC. They face a $250 fine.

While the ABC would not comment on whether Rocklin was the worst offender in Placer County, the numbers are troubling. According to Rocklin police, 24 Rocklin businesses were approached Nov. 14, with half receiving citations. In Roseville, six businesses received citations in enforcement operations on two occasions in September, with two Auburn business cited in the same time period. Rocklin police were surprised by the number of violators in the latest operation.

“We were really surprised at that kind of a high violation rate,” Milka said.

Now Rocklin will conduct what’s called “impact training” for violators to prevent future violations.

“We’ll tell them how to look for counterfeit identification and make sure that they are supposed to know they are supposed to be carding anybody who looks young enough to be carded to protect the welfare of their ABC license,” Milka said. “We’ll give the education to the business owners who need it.”

ABC awards grants to local law enforcement so they can work with ABC agents in the operations. These violations were garnered through an on-site sale operation where the underage adult is recruited from law enforcement to sit down at the restaurant or bar and order alcohol.

In November, Rocklin police also conducted what they call a “shoulder tap operation” that caught four individuals buying alcohol for minors.

“Some kid will be sitting outside an AM/PM or some kind of an alcohol/liquor store and they’ll see an adult walk in (and say), ‘Hey, would you mind buying us some booze, we’re underage,’” Milka explained.

If the adults agree to buy the alcohol for the minor decoy, investigators arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and community service.

Grant funding for the stings runs out in June and law enforcement officials vow to return to cited businesses at least one or two times to test the operators again, which could result in more fines.

“Most of the businesses we talk to absolutely have some kind of a training program for their employees,” Milka said. “It is up to the individual to follow the rules as well as the (business) to help train the employees.”

Not related to ABC operations, Rocklin police could be getting tougher on alcohol-related crimes later this year, as staff is preparing a Social Host Ordinance to hold party hosts more responsible for complications from the alcohol they serve.

“Homeowners should be more aware of who is getting alcohol in their house, and who is in their house,” Milka said.

The proposal would have to be voted on at City Council following a public hearing on any proposal. That could come sometime this year.