Local News

Story published: 10-22-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Three Jonesborough businesses in trouble for selling alcohol to minors

By Kristen Swing

Three Jonesborough businesses have been fined and employees charged after a sting last week conducted by the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Authorities cited employees at the trio of businesses after they each allegedly sold alcohol to a 20-year-old undercover informant.

Cory Davis, an employee at Jonesborough Wine & Spirits, 1000 W. Jackson Blvd., was cited around 5:30 p.m. after he reportedly sold the informant alcohol despite having checked the 20-year-old’s legitimate identification for a birth date.

At 6:15 p.m., the informant visited the only other liquor store in town — 11E Wine & Spirits, 1537 E. Jackson Blvd.

There, authorities say Jeffery Vest didn’t even ask the informant for his identification before ringing up a bottle of liquor for him. He, too, was cited for selling to a minor.

Jason Jones, a waiter at Bomba’s Fresh Italian, 125 E. Jackson Blvd., was the third individual to serve the informant that evening.

Jones reportedly did not ask for any form of identification before giving him the alcohol he had ordered.

Each of the three businesses has been fined $1,500 by the ABC as a result of the sting.

Jonesborough police worked with the ABC to conduct the investigation.

While only three businesses failed the test, Maj. Natalie Hilton said a handful of others came dangerously close.

“There’s a couple of places that just asked for the (informant’s) date of birth and didn’t actually look at the ID,” Hilton said. “By law, he has to tell them his real birth date.”

An electronic system built into many cash registers then alerted those cashiers that the intended buyer was underage, Hilton said.

“But a real underage person trying to buy alcohol is going to lie about the birth date,” Hilton pointed out.

In all, authorities visited 14 of the 16 businesses that have permits to sell alcohol in Jonesborough.

“We want there to be tighter control,” Hilton said. “We want zero businesses (failing the test).”