A recent sting operation targeting stores selling alcohol to underage customers made clear how easy it was for teens to get alcohol in Berwyn, area high school students say.
“Yeah if I want beer I usually just walk down the street from my house and get it,” said a Morton West High School junior. “They never card anymore, so now the hard part isn’t getting the alcohol, it’s getting away with actually drinking it.”
The Illinois State Police sent someone undercover to 12 restaurants and stores to see if they would sell liquor to underage teens. Eight of the establishments failed the test.
- Cousin Vinny’s
- 7-Eleven on 16th St
- Cinco Hermanos
- Family Liquor
- The Pride of Berwyn
- The BP
- P&J Amoco .
One of those nabbed later explained how it happened.
“There was a huge line and I was in a rush. I looked at the birth date and the just glanced at the picture. It looked similar enough so I didn’t question it,” said Sahrir Abbode, a cashier who was caught selling to minors.
Teenage drinkers prefer to get their alcohol in stores rather than restaurants or bars.
““If I want liquor I usually just go buy it,” said a Morton West senior. “I’ve never tried getting it in a restaurant because even if they did serve it to me one of my friend’s parents or a teacher would probably recognize me and I’d get in trouble that way.”
At the Harlem BP station the clerk was not thinking.
“Even though we sell liquor not too many people buy it from here because there are so many different places to buy it in Berwyn,” said Elizabeth McAloon, an afternoon cashier at the station. “ Our cashier that evening was not paying attention and sold the alcohol without thinking twice about it.” That won’t happen again McAloon said.
The Illinois State Police conducted this operation without consulting with authorities in Berwyn, which irritated Mayer Robert Lovero.
That means that nay punishments would have to come from the Illinois police, and not Berwyn.
“I never received a report of what establishments failed to comply with laws regarding selling liquor to minors, and because of this I cannot call for hearings to suspend or revoke licenses or fine them, which is what we would usually do,” Lovero said.