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Police Nab 10 Croton Businesses in Underage Alcohol Sting

June 25, 2008

A joint-undercover operation between Westchester County and Croton police—held on Tuesday evening, June 24th—resulted in charges being filed against 10 local businesses for selling alcohol to a minor. In fact, the minor was a 20-year-old working for police.

Subsequently, the businesses owners, from Cappriccio II, Croton Deli & Pastry, Dairy Mart, Exxon, The Grand Stand, Old Post Road South Liquors, Sofia’s Restaurant, and Zeytinia Market have been charged with violating New York State’s Alcohol Control Law—and are due in village court on July 2, 2008 at 9:30 AM.

On July 9, 2008 12:35 PM, Big A Little A said:

My 21st birthday was 4 days after the sting. It certainly made barbecue preparations a little bit frustrating.

But I was underage not so long ago. Getting alcohol was by no means a laborious task. In some cases, I can understand leniency on the carding policy, as its a matter of kindling a familiar and trusting relationship between business owners and patrons. No one wants to have to go through the interrogation process every time they go into their favorite deli to buy a beer.

This is not to provide an excuse for those business implicated in the sting, but certainly may indicate why the sting was so successful.

On July 9, 2008 12:15 PM, speedlaw said:

Really, this is the result of MADD pressure group lobbying. We have .08, the 21 yo drinking age, and a whole host of “underage” laws. Sitting in a Court, I see lots of “kids” (over 18, under 21) prosecuted for ONE DRINK, with a six month loss of license.

The 21 YO age has been a disaster. Colleges have a tough time enforcing it. When I went to school, we had a campus pub, and while drinking occurred, it was in a public space most of the time.

Now, it’s all secret, with the problems endemic to “illegal drugs”, and teaches kids to drink in a closet, or to get slammed before going out. We’d end up buzzed at the end of the night, but not drinking a half pint of vodka before…..

We see a push for Host Liability Laws for parents who try to work around this by letting young adults drink at home. Meanwhile, the answer from the “nancy reagan” types is “it’s illegal” and “just say no”.

We need to lower the drinking age to 19, so it’s not a high school legal thing. The only thing MADD did right with the 21 yo age is to eliminate the “blood border” issue, where folks would go to the next state to get booze. The age should be 19 nationwide. This fixes the college issues, and makes a more reasonable and enforceable law.

All of our recent alcohol law has been pushed and passed by one pressure group. While clearly intoxicated driving is a problem, these other changes to alcohol law cause other societal distortions as we see here.

Sending an older looking 20 year old is a cheap shot, politically motivated. I don’t blame the Croton PD…I’m very sure this was a ‘from above’ directive, and my sympathy is for the store owners. I hope they band together and fight this in the press as a group.

On July 4, 2008 11:51 AM, crotonres said:

And that is the problem with the law. You can buy the bar when you are 18 but you cannot drink there. That is moronic. And as far as people acting responsible you can find people of any age that act responsible and irrresponsible so that is not a valid arguement for having the drinking age at 21.

I know that it is the law but I still stand by the fact that this was a poorly conceived operation.

Is there such a huge underage drinking problem in this town?

We have a fine police dept and I would rather see them devote energy to other problems like speeding on 129.

On July 4, 2008 11:36 AM, weewill said:

And Waffels hit the nail right on the head …. If adults are apt to “behave badly” after a few drinks, how can we expect kids to do any better ? And does 21 years make a person more capable of responsible decisions than 18, 19 or 20 years ? I think not. If it was so, we would never send an 18, 19 or 20 year old to war, allow them to vote, drive a car or own a gun.

The inconsistency makes no sense whatsoever.


On July 4, 2008 10:20 AM, waffels said:

I found it interesting that there were, I believe 3 businesses that did catch the fake ID and turned the “kid” away. What was there checking procedure I wonder. Also, I have always believed that the age adjustment from 18 to 21 was ridiculous. 18, 19 and 20 year olds are legally considered to be adults in all other aspects of society. Excessive drinking, drunk driving is not just a young persons issue. Go into any bar on any weekend night and you’ll see “legal” adults behaving very bad.

On July 3, 2008 3:59 PM, weewill said:

With all respect, Crotonres, I don’t believe the problem is with the sting but rather with allowing any underage kid to buy liquor. It remains the clear responsibility of shopkeepers to require confirming ID’s from any person who might be 20, 25 or even 30 years old and look younger. We should all be so lucky. The rule should be … when in doubt … always ask.

Ridiculous as it may seem, we all know of 40 and 50 year olds who have been asked to produce identification. Good for them looking so good and good for the person asking for ID. It’s a credit to both of them.

We need to keep in mind that many of the clerks behind the counters are youngsters themselves and it may be difficult to determine one’s age. Following that simple rule will safeguard the shopkeeper and keep our kids well.


On July 3, 2008 2:14 PM, crotonres said:

The problem with this sting is many fold.

First a 20 year old is not a “kid” in my opinion and while the law may state that you must be 21, there is some debate about how you can be legal to do anything else at 18 but drink; the fairness of this law can be debated.

Secondly, using a 20 year who may or may not looked legal is dubious. It is not like they use a real kid, like a 15 year old.

Thirdly as has been stated, given the current commercial climate in this town is this the greatest idea right now? Yes it is the law but busting half the town business on a questionable law is not really wise.

On July 2, 2008 8:33 AM, PoliAnna said:

If the Croton police advised all purveyors of alcoholic beverages that they believed there was a problem with underage purchases, or even underage drinking, and that they needed to be more vigilant BEFORE they launched this sting, then fair enough. But if it was just an attempt to prove that our new police chief is serious about “cracking down on criminals” in our nearly crime-free village, then it was harrassment. In a time when we are having trouble retaining the good business we have — and all the targets are definitely fine businesses that contribute to the community, and we’re lucky to have them — this was a decidedly counterproductive bit of law enforcement. The Village Mayor has a reputation for giving direct orders to municipal employees (not his job, by the way)— was this his initiative?

On June 30, 2008 4:22 PM, sdavidson said:

I wonder how many pieces of silver they offered the 20 year old. What a disgrace.

On June 29, 2008 2:11 AM, supersilver322 said:

Is this actually serious? It would be one thing if they sent in someone who looked like they were 17 with a blatantly fake ID, but to send in someone who looked 29 with a real looking id just to arrest croton business owners is truly absurd. An 18 year old can: Vote, Drive, sign contracts, be drafted or enlist in the militarry, pay taxes, and purchase a gun yet they aren’t allowed to drink. regardless, this is truly ridiculous. As an 18 year old in croton, i can tell you that teenagers know not even to try in croton, because it would be basically impossible even with a fake ID. All i can say is congratulations croton police. Teenagers will still party just as much, you accomplished absolutely nothing besides arresting respected members of the croton community. I guess there are only so many teenagers to harass, time to move on to adults?

On June 28, 2008 2:02 PM, dem said:

While the owner of the German Deli was busy in his store preparing for his grand sons graduation, and the owner of Old Post Rd. Liquors was moving in his community bench so he could pick up his daughter, the Croton Police were busy with a sting they had carefully planned. 11 out of 13 stores in our community were busted for selling alcohol to a 20 yr old, that looked closer to 29. As Old Post Rd. Liquors was being released from “jail” in came Zeytinias. There were many others as listed in the newspaper.

If there is a time the community should be outraged it is now. All of these merchants have given endless donations, to our community. All of them have never sold to a minor, none of them have reputations among teenagers of were to get alcohol, and all of them were shown fake ID when asked.

When Croton store fronts are emptying, and the merchants that remain are feeling nervous about the local economy, this was a lousy thing for the Croton Police to do. If they wanted to prove a point, they could have without arresting everyone. Perhaps Old Post Rd. Liquor should go back to the way it was when “the old lady” owned it, or Zeytinita should move to a more friendly community. Explain the point to the German Deli owner who missed his grandsons graduation.

The Croton community should know that 10 or more merchants were set up and now have to defend themselves in court with the threat of large fines and years of probation at stake. These businesses have been maintaining deliberate acts of kindness on a daily basis and do nothing but be accountable to all aspects of there business within our community. Our community should stand up and show their support for each and every one of these merchants.

On June 26, 2008 8:08 PM, crotonres said:

According to the JN he was not asked for ID. Who knows how old he looks. This is a waste of police resources. I would rather see them ticketing speeders on 129 and other town streets. This 21 to drink law is absurd. You are an adult in every other aspect except one, buying a drink. Silly.

On June 26, 2008 12:38 PM, tjp said:

did the 20 year-old use a fake-id?


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