FRANKLIN — Could your teenager walk into a store and walk out with alcohol? Police in one community are cracking down to try to make sure that doesn't happen.
Franklin Police do underage alcohol compliance checks at least twice a year. During a sting on Memorial Day weekend, the results even shocked officers as they were twice as bad as their first go-around.
"We get volunteers typically through one of the technical colleges around here or someone who has some sort of tie into a police program," said Franklin Police Sgt. Jason Fincel.
Fincel is making sure stores aren't breaking the law by using an undercover teen to put them to the test. Most stores have a strict ID policy.
"To be on the safe side, we card every single customer," said Walgreens cashier Ann Moehlenpah.
"Anyone who looks under 30," said clerk Joshua Strait. "That's by the rules of Kwik Trip."
Several places where you may shop sold booze to the undercover teen, resulting in a hefty price for the clerk. Each one got a $439 citation.
"The ticket is issued to the person that made the sale, because they're the ones that have attended some sort of training to know who they can sell to and who they cannot sell to," said Fincel.
"Failing is not good, not a fun feeling," added Strait.
In just one sting operation, four stores failed by selling to the underage teen, according to Franklin Police:
— Andy’s Gas Station at 51st and Ryan
— CVS pharmacy at 51st and Rawson
— 7-Eleven on 76th Street
— Pick 'N Save at 76th and Rawson
Three of them are major chains, which was disappointing for Fincel.
"I think coming back this time and getting a few more violations than we did about a month ago is a little sad to think about," he said.
Out of the 15 stores checked, more than a quarter of them fell for the sting. The results were shocking for the teen who went undercover.
"It was really eye-opening. I really didn't think we were going to get that many people because I thought company policy was company policy," said Cassie Kollenbroich.
Kollenbroich's biggest concern is she showed her real I.D. to the clerks who sold her beer.
"The ticket is issued to the person that made the sale, because they're the ones that have attended some sort of training to know who they can sell to and who they cannot sell to." — Franklin Police Sgt. Jason Fincel
"I think people maybe aren't advised on how the new I.D. looks because right clearly there it says 'under 21 until this date,' and I feel like people are just searching for a different date," she said.
The surprising outcome gives a glimpse at how easily age can be overlooked, putting alcohol in the hands of those who shouldn't have it.
"With the amount of people we busted, I think that there's a lesson to be learned through companies through young people not to sell to other young people, especially those under the age of 21," Kollenbroich said.
In Wisconsin, those above 21 years old have horizontal identification cards. Those who are under 21 have vertical IDs with a "U-21" logo at the top and the date the person turns 21 at the bottom.