Port Wentworth Cracks Down on Underage Alcohol Sales - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Port Wentworth Cracks Down on Underage Alcohol Sales

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Jitendra Patel was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor Jitendra Patel was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor
Jigar Patel was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor Jigar Patel was arrested for selling alcohol to a minor
Nileshkumar Patel was charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor Nileshkumar Patel was charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor
Deonte Bracey is charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor Deonte Bracey is charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor
Port Wentworth, GA -

It was called operation Call a Cab. a tongue in cheek name for an important cause, stopping the spread of underage drinking.  

"Its a willful act," explains Port Wentworth Police Chief Matt Libby. "I think they are just interested in a dollar coming across that counter and we can't have it. A good business owner has to do the right thing.

Two undercover operatives, one a 20 year old officer, the other a 19 year old girl, are the customers looking to cash in and walk out with alcohol.

"That's a no go."

Good news for the first few spots.  No clerks biting, everyone asking for ID.  but it doesn't take long for someone to make the mistake.

The undercover walks out, beer in hand.

More officers swoop in to make the arrest.  despite the sign on the door, this clerk decided against checking an I-d.  but why didn't he follow the law?  I just had to ask.

"You look at the guy. He looked bigger than you," explained Jigar Arun Patel.
"But size doesn't mean everything?"
"And based on the way he looked," said Patel. "He looked over 30. I made a judgement. He looked pretty old."

"What do you think of that judgment now?"
"I was wrong, said Patel."

"The way we look at it its almost child abuse," said Chief Libby. "You are allowing minors to purchase alcohol. Those minors are getting intoxicated, driving on our roadways, which opens up a Pandora's box of problems for our community. And we are just not going to tolerate that."

The next store, the Swamp Fox, had gotten busted less than a month ago -- so what are the odds it would happen again?

"Thank you. Thank you. Ok, it's a go!" you could hear over the microphone.

Same store, same clerk.  Apparently he didn't listen to police or see his own signs above the cash register.

He's not only headed to jail, but has to shut down his store for the night.  so what was his excuse?

"This is the second time, right?"
"Yeah," said Jitendra Patel.

"Didn't you learn the first time it was wrong?"

"Yeah. You can ask all the churches all the customers every day I ask I check the ID. I don't know how this happened," explained Patel.

"You know you should check everyone?"
"99% I'm checking now. But how this one happened, I don't know," explained Patel.

"If you check 99% of the time, how is it police have shown up twice and you haven't checked them?"
"I don't know how this happened. I'm very sorry," apologized Jitendra.

While the Swamp Fox apparently didn't learn anything, other businesses got the message loud and clear.

"I'll take a Southbound something," said the undercover.
"OK, can I see your ID please?" asked the server.

Sweet Tea Grille got caught during the last sting. This time, they knew better.

"Whether you are 70 or 17, we are going to card you all," said Nina Perry, Sweet Tea Grille's owner.

"What would you tell the underage folks on your table?"

"You aren't getting served today. I'm sorry," smiled Chelsea Alexander, Sweet Tea Grille server.

5 clerks and servers were arrested on Friday for selling to minors, including a 17 year old cashier from Food Lion.

Each could face a fine of up to $2500, probation and possible suspension of the store's liquor license.

The good news, just 5 of 21 stores didn't follow the law.

That's down from 10 stores when the first sweep happened last month.

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