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Two caught in alcohol sting

by Kurt Hildebrand

Store clerks aren’t the only ones who have to worry about keeping minors from buying alcohol.

As two people found out last week, anyone who goes into a store and buys alcohol for a minor is committing a crime.

One man was cited and another arrested on Thursday when the Carson City Sheriff’s Department conducted a sting in front of three Carson City stores.

“We have juvenile decoys who stand outside of a store and ask people to buy alcohol for them,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob White.

The department worked with Carson High School’s Stand Tall Don’t Fall club to set up the sting.

“I went pretty well,” White said. “We contacted seven people after five hours.”

White would have preferred to contact a few more people, but one of the people who bought alcohol for the decoy had a warrant out for his arrest, and it took time to get him booked.

Arrested was Michael Gomez, 46, a painter. A 22-year-old landscaper received a $632 citation.

White said one of the five adults approached took the money, but didn’t buy alcohol for the teen.

“One person tried to steal our money,” he said. “His excuse was that he was trying to teach them a lesson. But it is a crime, it’s petty larceny.”

The sting is part of a continuing effort to curb alcohol sales to minors. The Sheriff’s Department has been using decoys to make sure Carson stores are checking identification.

“There is a problem in Carson City and we’re aware of the problem,” he said. “We are trying to get the message out that this is not acceptable.

White said the department’s goal is to make sure adults know it’s wrong to purchase alcohol for minors or allow minors to purchase the alcohol for themselves.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “This type of thing is ongoing. Nobody knows when we will go out again. We don’t want people buying alcohol for minors because there is a sting. We don’t want people to buy alcohol for minors.”

Both the store and individual stings are paid for through a grant from the state’s juvenile justice commission to reduce drinking by minors.