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Special Report: Cracking down on the sale of alcohol to teenagers in our area

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(Toledo News Now) -

Throughout the year, the Ohio Investigative Unit conducts alcohol compliance checks. It's the unit's way to ensure alcohol is not getting in the hands of minors.

WTOL was invited to join the team as it carried out its most recent undercover operation on Friday, April 18. The timing couldn't have been better as the community inches closer to prom, graduation and the summer season.

Underage drinking has hit Northwest Ohio especially hard--just last year a young man from Ottawa Hills died from a drunken driving crash. Investigators traced the alcohol back to Foxx Liquor on Dorr Street and the clerk, 38 year old Nicholas Thompson.

The liquor store is a habitual offender in selling alcohol to those under the age of 21 and has since been shut down, but this sell was deadly.

18 year old Brian Hoeflinger and his two friends, Blake Pappas and Michael Geiger pooled their money together to buy a $50 bottle of Belvedere vodka.

While Hoeflinger and Geiger stood nearby inside the store, Pappas made the illegal purchase. The clerk never checked his ID.

Later that night, Hoeflinger died.

Since then, a judge sentenced Thompson for six months jail-time for the illegal sale of alcohol. The business itself was also cited civilly.

The incident continues to serve as a life lesson for the Ohio Investigative Unit and the parents of teenagers.

"[The clerk] that's the first line of defense to make sure underage people don't get it," said Ray Rodriguez of OIU.

Using a 19 year old confidential informant, the unit conducted 11 alcohol compliance checks the night of April 18, 2014. During the operation, 4 businesses sold alcohol to the minor.

Sale

 

  • Smoke Shack 5235 Dorr St, Toledo
  • Stop ‘n Go 1027 N Reynolds, Toledo
  • Reynolds Mini Mart 522 S Reynolds, Toledo
  • In ‘n Out 933 Michigan, Maumee

 

No Sale

 

  • Stop n Go 5314 Bancroft
  • Speedway 5160 Dorr
  • Rite Aid 5224 Dorr
  • Dollar General 1305 N Reynolds
  • Stop n Go 1027 N Reynolds
  • Hop In 541 N Reynolds
  • Speedway 1500 Reynolds, Maumee

 

The 2013 alcohol compliance checks still show a need for additional training:  

State of Ohio     No Sale 801         Sale 218

Lucas County     No Sale 32           Sale 10

If you know of a person or business selling alcohol to minors, please dial #677 on a cellular phone and your complaint will be investigated. 

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