County investigates 11 stores for alcohol sales to minors

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's department investigated 11 area convenience stores Friday in an attempt to targetstores selling alcohol to minors.

Employees at four stores received summonses in connection with the investigation.

Amber Girrard, 18, at Smith Stop in Dutchtown, Mo.; Katherine Lee, 38, at Amerimart No. 15 in Old Appleton, Mo.; Anthony Barton, 18, at Lil Country Store in Fruitland; and Heather Miller, 27, at Casey's General Store in Fruitland, were issued summonses for selling alcohol to minors, according to Cape Girardeau chief deputy lieutenant David James.

"This is one of the things we've done in the past and continue to do," James said.

The high percentage of minors cited for alcohol-related charges, as well as car accidents involving minors under the influence, sparks investigations into sources providing underage drinkers with alcohol, James said.

An 18-year-old agreed to assist deputies with their investigation, with her parents' consent, by going into convenience stores and attempting to purchase alcohol under police surveillance.

"It's no different than going to buy drugs with an informant," James said.

This is the first year that funding for the investigation was provided from an outside source, in the form of a $2,000 grant from Southeast Missouri State University.

Of the 11 area stores checked, clerks at seven of them refused to sell alcohol to the minor.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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