INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Four local businesses were cited for selling alcohol to minors during a recent sting operation.
In all, 14 Washoe County merchants failed to request proper ID after sheriff’s office deputies and an underage buyer visited more than 60 businesses on May 2-3 and May 9-10.
Incline Village Chevron, Rookie’s Sports Bar and Grill, DiMaggio’s at the Lake, and Incline Spirits and Cigars were the four local businesses where an employee sold illegally, accounting for 28.5 percent of the county-wide citations.
“We chose those locations (in Incline Village) directly in response to citizen concerns we had received… that they have been potentially selling alcohol,” WCSO Public Information Officer Bob Harmon said.
Fifty-two businesses were compliant during the stings, according to WCSO, including Circle K, Incline Liquor and 7-Eleven in Incline.
When asked for comment, Doug Brown, a manager with Incline Village Chevron, said his employee was “reprimanded and re-trained for failure to follow proper procedure.”
“Incline Village Chevron does not advocate the sale of tobacco or alcohol products to underage minors … we have a very strong stance on that,” Brown said.
Will Brigham, co-owner of Incline Spirits, said his store in the Country Club Mall has an almost flawless record since opening in 2008 in terms of alcohol and tobacco stings.
Still, he said he recognizes that “accidents do happen” — as so, too, do opportunities to improve.
“It was a … veteran employee who simply did not do the math correctly; he called it a senior moment,” Brigham said. “We really appreciate Washoe County for what they are doing — we like that they go around and do these things.”
Serge Rigisich, owner of Rookies, declined to comment on this story. A message left with an employee at DiMaggio’s seeking comment from the owner was not returned by this story’s deadline.
Each citation is handled like a speeding ticket, Harmon said, in terms of how it’s treated and sentenced through the courts. Fines could reach as high as $600 to $700 per employee, he said.
The operation was supported by a grant from Join Together Northern Nevada, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse in Washoe County by improving access to prevention, intervention and treatment services. Learn more at jtnn.org.
“We hope businesses take them to heart and use it as a chance to talk to their employees about the importance of public safety,” Harmon said.
Residents may report any type of underage drinking activities by calling 775-785-WCSO (9276) or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.