4 businesses fail tobacco checks

Published 3:54 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

Four businesses in Albert Lea failed a recent tobacco compliance check conducted by the Albert Lea Police Department.

The four businesses that made illegal sales were Dash-In Grocery on East Front Street, Hy-Vee Gas on Bridge Avenue, Love’s Truck Stop on East Main Street and Tobacco Store on Hendrickson Road.

Three of the four employees at those establishments asked for and received current Minnesota identification before completing the sale. A press release from the police said that a common theme was that employees would glance at the license.

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The checks were completed on Wednesday, and 25 establishments passed the check. Police officers supervised 15- and 16-year-olds who attempted to buy tobacco products at 29 establishments. Both the state of Minnesota provisional driver’s license and instructional permit said the date the holder becomes age 18.

A 1997 state law requires law enforcement to conduct compliance checks at least once a year.

Clerks who sell tobacco to minors are issued citations for the first violation, which carries a maximum penalty of not more than 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000. A second violation by the same clerk within a five-year period is a gross misdemeanor. Administrative penalties of up to $250 and a seven-day suspension of a tobacco license can be assessed to businesses for failing tobacco compliance checks.