Three convenience stores sold alcohol on Sunday to minors during a Medford police operation to check retailers' compliance with Oregon Liquor Control Commission rules, police reported.
Police said volunteers between the ages of 18 and 20 wearing what police called "age-appropriate clothing" tried to buy alcoholic beverages at 10 locations and presented real identification when asked.
Police said of the three stores that sold alcohol to the decoys, two asked for identification, but overrode the denial of sale with alternate birth dates. The other clerk asked for identification, but did not compare the date of birth with an age-verification calendar on the counter, police said.
"(Decoys) are prohibited from deceptive tactics or lying, and have passed a criminal background check," a release from Medford police said.
Police said the purpose of the program is to monitor and educate OLCC licensees on the legal and proper sales of alcoholic beverages in Medford, and to reduce minors' access to alcoholic beverages. Police issued citations to the individuals involved.
This was the second such operation this month. Medford police reinstated the program to supplement the occasional checks done here by the OLCC.
In the previous operation on Monday, Dec. 9, four stores sold alcohol in violation of age restrictions.
"I actually am surprised," said Lt. Mike Budreau of the number of stores that have not been in compliance. "It's such a simple thing. I wouldn't think anybody would do this, to be honest with you. Why would you risk your job and criminal charges on someone you don't even know?"
Stores out of compliance included the Thrifty Nifty Market, 223 W. Jackson St.; Crown Market, 547 Stevens St.; and Stop N Shop, 2751 N. Pacific Highway.
Stores in compliance included Circle K Market, 1050 S. Riverside Ave.; Minute Market, 610 E. Main St.; Spring Street Market, 1910 Spring St.; Crater Lake Market, 836 Crater Lake Ave.; USA Gas Market, 2406 W. Main St.; Minute Market, 843 W. Jackson St.; and Rose Grocery, 201 W. Jackson St.
Police said this will not be the last such operation, and that future similar ones will likely continue at randomly set dates.
"We will continue these indefinitely," Budreau said. "If we start getting 100 percent compliance on a regular basis, we can maybe either think about stopping them or spreading them out further, but at this point we have some folks who aren't understanding the laws or are simply disregarding them."
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.