People in Oakdale and across the state learned the hard way that when you feel that tap on your shoulder, don’t buy beer for the young person who asks – no matter how nicely.
Oakdale Police and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control took part in a statewide operation Saturday to catch people purchasing alcohol for minors. The undercover operation deployed decoys under the age of 21 at various convenience and liquor stores who would stand outside and tap adults on the shoulder and ask them to buy beer for them.
In Oakdale, two teenagers — both under the age of 18 — from the Oakdale Police Explorer program served as the decoys. They were given money and after identifying themselves as underage, would ask customers going in to buy them a Bud or Coors.
"Our goal is to reduce underage consumption of alcohol as well as reduce the furnishing of alcohol for adults to underage drinkers," said Lt. Joseph Carrillo.
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During the sting, most people contacted by the teens turned them down. The clerks at most of the establishments also asked the youths to stop and move. But they did have two takers, who were cited and released.
Purchasing alcohol for a minor is punishable with a fine of $250, which can go up to $1,000, or community service.
In Oakdale about five police staff along with representatives from ABC took part. Statewide, more than 70 law enforcement agencies and hundreds of officers conducted similar stings Saturday. This is the seventh year of ABC’s Shoulder Tap Program. In the past six years it has cited or arrested 2,791 individuals.