The On The Way Convenience Market at 736 South Congress Boulevard is prohibited from selling beer for ninety days.
Following a brief hearing, the Smithville Beer Board Thursday night found the beer permit holder, Bindyia, Inc. in violation of the city's beer ordinance for the sale of alcohol to a minor and voted to suspend the license for ninety days.
Board members Annette Greek, Steve Hays, Farron Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Lloyd Black all voted in favor of the suspension. City Recorder Hunter Hendrixson and City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. were also present.
The suspension takes effect immediately. Hendrixson said he will remove the beer permit from the store on Friday morning.
The board heard from Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department, who was sworn under oath and questioned by city attorney Parsley. No one from the store attended the meeting.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW OF WJLE'S EXCLUSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE OF BEER BOARD MEETING)
Acting on numerous public complaints of possible illegal beer sales to minors, Lieutenant Holmes said the Smithville Police Department conducted an investigation in August targeting all eleven stores in the city licensed to sell beer for consumption off the premises.
Only one arrest was made. 19 year old Danielle Owens, a store clerk at On The Way market was charged with the misdemeanor offense of selling alcohol to a minor. She will make a court appearance in November.
The investigation was conducted by Lieutenant Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell. A 20 year old officer from another county, in plain clothes, attempted to make a beer purchase from each store.
In all but one case, the store clerks refused to make the beer sales to the undercover officer after checking his ID and using an age chart to verify his age. He was denied the sale and told he was too young to buy beer.
The exception was with Owens at On the Way market. "Upon stopping at On the Way, the undercover person advised that the clerk checked his ID and then accepted his ten dollar bill and made the transaction for the alcohol, giving him $3.65 in change," said Lieutenant Holmes in a previous statement to WJLE. "A short time later the suspect (store clerk) was identified as 19 year old Danielle Owens. Warrants were taken and she was located at her home at 520 Miller Road. Owens was arrested and charged with selling alcohol to a minor," added Lieutenant Holmes.
Police made contact with the store owner and the ten dollar bill used to purchase the alcohol was found in the cash register. Identification of the bill was confirmed by checking the serial numbers.
The city's beer ordinance states that "It shall be unlawful for any beer permit holder to make or allow any sale of beer to a minor under twenty one years of age."
The beer ordinance further provides that "Under the finding of any violation of the beer permit holder, the punishment for the first offense shall be a minimum suspension of the beer permit for a period of 90 days. Upon any permit holder committing a violation a second time, the punishment shall be the revocation of the beer license."
(Beer Board members pictured above are: Standing left to right: Alderman Danny Washer and Lloyd Black. Seated left to right: Annette Greek, Steve Hays, and Farron Hendrix)