If you're having trouble finding a place to buy an alcoholic beverage for three days in late February, it's likely because eight Easton establishments will have their liquor licenses suspended as a result of a recent compliance check conducted by the Easton Police Department.
Monday night, the Board of Selectmen held hearings and suspended the alcohol licenses held by Scott's Fine Wines, South Easton Variety Store, White Hen Pantry, Porticello's Restaurant, Hayashi Japanese Restaurant, El Mariachi Cantina, and the Union Villa during the dates of Feb. 22, 23, and 24.
The liquor license held by May East Restaurant will be suspended for six days, Feb. 22 - 27, because of a second offense within four years.
"These are serious violations," Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Corona said during a hearing with El Mariachi. "There was no attempt to I.D. these people."
The investigation was conducted on Oct. 21 by Sergeant Mark Ferretti and Officer Darren Mangott of the Easton Police Department who accompanied two 19-year-olds to liquor-selling establishments in town.
"There's no trickery," said Police Chief Allen Krajcik shortly after the sting. "There's no fake I.D.'s or lying or anything like that. They just go in and try to make a purchase and in those package stores they walked out with a case of beer each time."
Each business must turn in its liquor license to the Police Department during the suspension and post a notice in the establishment explaining the reason the license was suspended.
May East restaurant was caught in a compliance check conducted by the Easton Police Department in 2008, resulting in a three-day liquor license suspension. Because the business was caught twice in four years, the penalty was twice as many days without a license. Rather than a suspension on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the third week in February, the Chinese Restaurant will go without a license from Tuesday through Sunday.
"I think given that it was only 26 months later, that tells me that work still needs to be done in terms of training your staff," Selectman John Haederle told Cristo Wong, the restuarant's manager.
Corona said each restuarant or store had the right to appeal the Board of Selectmen decision to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission within five days of the hearing.
While a compliance check is generally conducted in Easton once a year, Krajcik said in November that the Police Department planned to conduct more stings this year as a result of the high number of failed compliance checks last fall. Five of Easton's 16 liquor-selling restaurants failed the compliance check, and three of Easton's nine liquor-selling stores failed the check. Establishments are notified through local media outlets prior to each sting.
"This is what we’re going to do until we get stings that generate no violations," Corona said.
Editor's Note; A previous version of this article said that the investigation was partly conducted by the ABCC. In fact, the investigation was conducted only by the Easton Police Department.