A dark‑haired teen using a 27‑year‑old blonde woman’s driver’s license was able to buy alcohol at 10 Sebastopol businesses during a recent undercover operation, according to Sebastopol police.
Saturday afternoon’s operation involved 10 businesses — restaurants, and convenience and grocery stores — throughout Sebastopol and employees at every one sold beer, wine or liquor to the girl despite a license with incorrect height, weight and eye color, as well as the obvious age difference, hair color and a photo of a very different person.
Lucky for the sellers and business owners, the operation was educational, conducted by the city to teach business owners, managers and employees how to properly check identification and not sell to minors.
The violations resulted in a conversation with managers and employees instead of criminal consequences for the seller and business liabilities for the owner.
The result surprised police officials.
If the operation had been a criminal investigation “we could have had 10 people arrested for selling alcohol to a minor,” Sebastopol Police Lt. Greg DeVore said Tuesday.
“In most cases you might get one or two businesses out of multiple that do a sale. I was shocked to hear that.”
In 2017 Sebastopol adopted a law that businesses with liquor licenses have to participate in training for owners, managers, security and staff who sell alcohol within 90 days of being hired.
Of the 10 employees who sold to the teen, two had participated in the city training program, said Diane Davis, a public health consultant who runs it.
She said additional focus will be put on checking businesses for compliance with the city’s training program.
Monthly training sessions are held at the Sebastopol police station for new employees of alcohol‑related businesses.
The next sessions will be June 20 from 12:30-4:30 p.m. for employees and security staff and June 27 from 9-11 a.m. for licensees and managers.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport.