Teens helping law enforcement with alcohol sting skipped out on checks
June 29, 2017
Two 18-year-olds working with law enforcement to conduct alcohol compliance checks might have committed a petty offense when they skipped out on their checks after ordering food.
The experience has left a bad taste in the mouths of some Steamboat Springs restaurateurs.
The Steamboat Springs Police Department worked with the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division to conduct the stings Tuesday, which involved the underage women attempting to purchase alcohol.
One lives in Steamboat. The other lives outside the area.
The teens attempted to buy alcohol at 23 establishments.
Police Chief Cory Christensen said Thursday he was happy that only one establishment served the teens, but the officer supervising the sting was surprised to learn the teens ordered food and then skipped out on their tabs.
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"That's generally not in the plan," Christensen said. "If someone is out, we'll pay for it."
Christensen said he plans to review how compliance checks are conducted.
Scratch employee Kayla Newsome still has her check, and she plans to bring it over to the police department.
"I've been through stings before, but I've never had someone walk out on a tab before," Newsome said.
Newsome said she carded the teens.
They then ordered a salad and an appetizer and then left, Newsome said.
Some restaurants were able to tell the kitchen not to make the food. Others were not so fortunate.
Aurum Food & Wine owner Phil Armstrong was also a victim.
"It's kind of like completely ironic," he said.
Armstrong said the teens sat at the bar and ordered parmesan fries.
They waited a little bit and one ordered a wine while the other ordered a beer.
Armstrong said the teens told him they did not have their IDs.
"Then they got up and left," Armstrong said.
Tap House bartender Justin Hansen told the teens he could not serve them because they did not have IDs.
Hansen said they ordered wings.
"Went and got water, and they were gone," Hansen said.
8th Street Steakhouse owner Tim Pahula said the teens ordered truffle fries after he refused to serve them martinis.
Then they left.
"It was just kind of a bummer," Pahula said. "All they had to say was, 'Cancel our order, we're going to go.'"
In addition to not skipping out on the bill, Pahula said that in the future he hoped they would be notified that the restaurant had passed the compliance check.
High 5 operating partner Kevin Sher said the teens ordered two slices of pepperoni pizza.
"They walked out, and two officers walked in," Sher said.
High 5 was the only business to serve the teens.
The business was cited and face consequences from the city's liquor licensing authority compliance division.
In December, High 5 was cited for over-serving a customer. The incident was witnessed by undercover officers.
High 5's liquor license was suspended for seven days. Five of those days were waived as long as High 5 followed the rules for the next year.