BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — A Beverly police sting operation cited seven stores and bars for serving alcohol to minors, an unusually high number of violations that police attribute to the increasing use of fake IDs available online.
The seven violations represent more than 10 percent of the 69 liquor license holders in the city.
“Seven is more than we want to find, but the good news is that most of the businesses are doing the right thing,” police Chief Mark Ray said. “Most of the businesses did a good job and did not sell (to minors).”
Police conducted the operation over two days in October using volunteers under 21.
The seven establishments found to have served to underage customers were Alexander’s Liquors on Elliott Street, Crossing’s Corner Market on Beckford Street, Depot Liquors on Enon Street, Corner Variety on Hale Street, Kitty O’Sheas on Cabot Street, Ryal Side Liquors on Bridge Street and Sports Page Pub on Rantoul Street.
The city’s Licensing Board handed out three-day suspensions to six of the license holders during its meeting on Nov. 8. The hearing on the Sports Page Pub was continued to the board’s meeting next month.
The board also gave out a three-day license suspension to the Franco-American Club on Park Street, for overserving alcohol to a patron at a Halloween party.
Ray and Sgt. William Page, the Police Department’s liaison to the Licensing Board, said some of the violations were due to the proliferation of fake out-of-state IDs that can be purchased easily online. Page said police have confiscated about 40 fake IDs.
“They get them online, coming out of China,” Page said.
Ray said the fake IDs are not only illegal, but users are risking identify theft by giving their Social Security numbers and credit card information to the companies that sell them.
Page said police and the Licensing Board plan to hold a seminar for all of the city’s liquor license holders in January to teach the proper procedures for checking and identifying proper IDs.
“We’re trying to work with these businesses to keep these kids from doing this,” he said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.