TEWKSBURY — With prom and high school graduation just around the corner, police carried out alcohol compliance checks at businesses in Tewksbury on Thursday, where they uncovered violations at four establishments.
The violations will be forwarded to the Select Board for disciplinary action that could include suspensions of alcohol licenses, according to a Tewksbury Police Department press release.
Police said the businesses that failed to ask for identification from a 19-year-old who was working with police were AJ’s Beer, Wine & Convenience, at 2316 Main St.; Lincoln Liquors, at 10 Main St.; Main Street Liquors Inc., at 391 Main St.; and Oakdale One Stop Liquors, at 1900 Main St.
“We failed and that’s not something we take lightly,” Joe Silva, the manager of Oakdale One Stop Liquors, said on Friday. “It’s embarrassing. I don’t want anyone selling to my underage kids and I don’t want to sell to anyone else’s underage kids.”
Police said the establishments were notified in a letter last month that the department would be conducting compliance checks pertaining to underage drinking and the sale of alcohol to minors.
“The Tewksbury Police Department is asking that each of you partner with us and work together to prevent any tragedies that may occur due to underage drinking,” Chief Ryan Columbus wrote in that letter. “The prom and graduation season is upcoming, and we are hoping that you will join us in this initiative.”
Columbus also hosted a virtual meeting with proprietors on March 31, during which he spoke about the importance of preventing sales to minors and about how the compliance checks would work.
On Thursday, police carried out the checks by sending a 19-year-old into 10 establishments to purchase a six-pack of beer.
Pathik Patel, the license manager at Main Street Liquors Inc., expressed disappointment that they failed the compliance check on Friday. Patel had attended the meeting led by Columbus last month and had reminded employees to make sure they were checking IDs.
“With the summer coming and the prom coming, the police wanted to make sure we don’t sell to underage, and that’s absolutely correct,” Patel said. “I think it was just a slip-up. Obviously we have no intention to sell to underage people. It’s unfortunate.”
Silva pointed out the employee who sold the alcohol to the 19-year-old was a new employee and still in training at the time. He added the employee and Oakdale One Stop Liquors came to a mutual agreement to part ways after the incident.
According to Silva, everyone who works at Oakdale will be getting retrained.
“We’ll be doing our best to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said. “The police are doing their job and it’s up to us to do ours.”
Police said the following locations passed the alcohol compliance checks:
- JC Spirits, 1699 Shawsheen St.
- Smitty’s Liquors, 1091 Main St.
- Crystal General Store, 1120 Main St.
- Hobart’s Country Store, 2514 Main St.
- Tewksbury Convenient Store, 156 Shawsheen St.
- White Dove Pantry, 910 Andover St.
Columbus thanked the proprietors and staff at those locations “for taking this matter seriously and for ensuring that customers are asked for ID before alcohol sales are made.”
“These businesses clearly got the message when we discussed the importance of preventing alcohol sales to minors,” Columbus said in the release.
Representatives from AJ’s Beer, Wine & Convenience and Lincoln Liquors were not immediately available for comment.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis.