3 stores cited for ID violations

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Three stores received citations for not checking the identification cards of underage consumers during Steamboat Springs Police Department compliance checks Saturday night.

The department sent two 20-year-olds and two 21-year-olds into five bars and six stores that sell alcohol. The police monitored whether their identification cards were checked when they tried to purchase alcohol, Capt. Joel Rae said.

Three stores -- On the Way Market, Arctic Liquor and Go-Fer Foods -- were cited for selling alcohol to those younger than 21 and not checking IDs.

The businesses that complied with the check were West End Liquor, Bottleneck Liquor, The Wine Rack, Slopeside Grill, The Tugboat Gill & Pub, Old Town Pub and Restaurant, Eighth Street Steakhouse and the Hilltop Bar and Grill.

"It's another effort in trying to do this on a regular basis. Obviously, we still have work to do," Rae said. "Hopefully, next time we check, we get 100 percent compliance from everyone we check."

Joe Armstrong, who co-owns Arctic Liquor, said the store has gone through compliance checks once or twice a year in the five years it has been opened. Saturday was the first violation. Checking IDs is also part of the training for new employees, he said.

"I definitely agree with the drinking age, and normally, we are very responsible as we get tested on this over and over," Armstrong said.

Representatives for Go-Fer Foods and On the Way Market declined to comment about the citations.

The compliance check was the second in two months. At the end of November, the police sent 20-year-olds into bars without identification to see whether they would be served. Two bars were cited, and four passed the compliance tests.

The November round of compliance checks focused on bars, whereas Saturday's check included liquor stores and convenience stores that sell 3.2 percent alcohol.

"We are going to be doing random checks on any establishment that holds a liquor license and sells alcohol," Rae said.

In the fall, police reported increased incidents involving underage drinkers.

Serving alcohol to those who are underage is a Class II misdemeanor, which has a penalty of as many as 12 months and as much as $1,000 in fines. The establishments' liquor licenses could be suspended or revoked if repeat offenses occur.

The citations handed out Saturday cited the liquor license holder and the person who sold the alcohol. The citation also requires a mandatory court appearance.

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