Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
May 26, 2021
(OKEECHOBEE COUNTY) Eight Okeechobee County stores are in hot water for selling cold beer to minors.
Sheriff Noel Stephen implemented Operation BuzzKill after complaints swarmed in about underage alcohol sales at local convenience stores.
During the operation, minors under the direct supervision of a Deputy Sheriff went to 24 stores and attempted to purchase alcohol. Deputies moved in after clerks at eight stores sold alcohol to minors without verifying their age.
The stores caught selling to minors are:
- Town Star – 12800 SR 70 E
- Marathon – 8605 US Highway 441 SE
- Murphy Gas Station – 2109 S Parrott Ave
- TownStar Gas Station – 3993 SR 710
- ABC Fine Wine and Spirits – 601 NE Park
- Sunoco Gas Station – 3093 US HWY 98 N
- Mary Ann’s Corner Store – 30 US Highway 98 N
- Shell Gas Station – 1865 SR 70 W
Red Altman, Manager of Lunkers Sports Bar & Grill in Okeechobee, says his staff receives training every six weeks in the responsible vending of alcohol. “You have to look out for kids and those already intoxicated,” Altman says.
Studies show alcohol use by minors leads to cognitive and learning problems and is a significant factor in the death of people younger than 21 in the United States.
The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor begins with up to 60 days in jails. Formal charges for the clerks that got caught are forthcoming.
“As Summer draws near, and kids are out of school, it is important to prevent underage drinking and the illegal sale of alcohol to minors. If you sell alcohol to a child in Okeechobee County, you will be held accountable,” Okeechobee Sheriff Noel Stephen told The St. Lucie Post.