10 restaurants caught selling alcohol to minors in police operation

The biggest issue is restaurants not checking IDs correctly, according to Lieutenant Mike Ligon with the sheriff’s office.
Author: Kendall Morris
Published: 5:33 PM EST February 28, 2019
Updated: 11:49 AM EST March 1, 2019
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Law enforcement agencies across York County are cracking down on businesses that sell alcohol to minors.

On Tuesday night, officers from all municipalities participated in an operation involving 96 restaurants in which people ages 17 to 19 attempted to purchase alcohol, according to Lieutenant Mike Ligon with the sheriff’s office.

Of those 96 restaurants, Ligon said 10 were cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

Sonny’s BBQ, 2781 Cherry Road, Rock Hill
Fuji Japan, 2455 Cherry Road, Rock Hill
Killingtons, 940 Market Street, Fort Mill
Tipsy Barrel, 1504 Carolina Place, Fort Mill
Famous Dave’s, 917 Cabela’s Drive, Fort Mill
Southern Sugar, 100 Main Street, Fort Mill
Rosita’s Mexican Grill, 42 N. Congress Street, York
Last Call Social, 103 Bethel Street, Clover
El Mexicano, 401 N. Main Street, Clover
The Cove, 5301 Highway 557, Lake Wylie
“A successful operation to us is if we go out and we don’t have to write any tickets,” Ligon said. “That means everybody is doing what they need to be doing. We’re doing our job, and in turn, the merchants are doing their job.”

Ligon said the biggest issue is restaurants not checking IDs correctly.

“People will just generally give a quick look to the ID, give it back, and they’re not truly checking the ID and the actual date of birth on the ID,” he added.

The operation comes ahead of the 10th annual “Out of Their Hands” spring blitz across the state of South Carolina.

It’s a push in the state around spring break and prom season to keep alcohol away from minors.

Keystone Substance Abuse Services provides education classes for merchants that have been cited and for merchants who want to be proactive about not serving alcohol to minors.

“We’re giving them the skills so that they can go back to their restaurant or their store and be prepared to check IDs and lookout so they’re not selling alcohol to an underage minor,” said Alex Greenawalt, prevention coordinator for Keystone Substance Abuse Services.

Greenawalt said there are currently three South Carolina IDs that an underage person may use, which makes it difficult for business owners and their employees to spot the real deal.

The Palmetto Retailers Education Program teaches merchants about the F.L.A.G process for IDs, which stands for feel, look, ask their age, and give the ID back.

“At the end of the day, their [retailers’] job is to save a life,” Greenawalt said. “If somebody they sell alcohol to gets behind the wheel of a car, leaves their establishment, it can come back to them and the license-holder at their establishment for a massive lawsuit.”

Greenawalt said the number of retailers selling alcohol to minors in the county is down to six percent from a high of 32 percent several years ago.

She believes it’s a sign the community efforts are helping as they work to get the stats even lower.

“We’re trying to prevent the onset of addiction or unhealthy behaviors with abusing alcohol at a young age,” she said.

Keystone Substance Abuse Services is offering free Merchant Education Training for businesses that do not have a citation.

Those sessions will be from 4-6 p.m. March 11 and 9-11 a.m. March 13 at the Keystone Youth Center Training Room on 1668 Herlong Ct. in Rock Hill.