Out of 74 visits to licensed grocery and liquor stores in the city by undercover minors, 32 resulted in alcohol sales to them, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The stings, which took place from April 17 to May 1, were conducted by a new unit in the State Liquor Authority that includes part-time underage decoys.
Some of the owners and managers of the 32 businesses allegedly caught in the sting — many of them small bodegas and groceries — were dismayed. Fausto Collado, owner of the Yankee Two Deli Inc. at 122 Avenue C in Manhattan, said he was mystified after receiving a letter saying he was accused of selling alcohol to a minor. “Every time I ask for license and ID,” Collado said.
Rames Patel, manager of Parson’s Convenience Store Inc., at 79-24 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing, said security tape showed the store did not sell a Bud Light to anyone on the day it was accused of selling the beer to a minor — but the DVR system broke during an attempt to back up the data.
“We’re hoping it can be retrieved from the hard drive,” he said, because the $3,000 first-time fine was a huge hit for the small store. Repeat violators face fines up to $10,000 per violation and license revocation.
“Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors is a priority for the State Liquor Authority and these underage sweeps will continue,” SLA chairman Dennis Rosen said.