Littlefield's First Liquor Store Busted For Selling to a Minor - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/16/06

Littlefield's First Liquor Store Busted For Selling to a Minor

It was only open for nine days when they failed one of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's major tests. Chad's Liquor is the first store to sell alcohol in Littlefield after voters approved packaged liquor sales in November. The owner Chad Wright is now facing charges for selling alcohol to a minor. TABC arrested Wright during an undercover sting last Thursday.

Alcohol sales in Littlefield has been controversial since the November election passed by only 42 votes. In a previous election the same issue failed by 27 votes, and now once again, it's an issue that continues to split the city.

Nine days after the first customer walked into Chad's Liquor, the owner Chad Wright was arrested for selling to a minor. "Well, he tried so hard to get it here, it was a big surprise to see he would do something like that," said Littlefield Resident Cathi Gotcher.

Gotcher recalls how much work Wright did to legalize sales. The issue first failed by 27 votes in September 2004 and passed by just 42 votes in November.

Resident Evelyn Ritchie has been against alcohol sales all along. "They just don't want the liquor in our stores, or in our town actually."

Ritchie said allowing sales in the city makes it easier for minors to get alcohol. "Somebody will get it for them I guess if they can't get it, but I just hate them to make it that easy for them," said Ritchie.

Four other locations, including United Supermarkets say they will start selling beer and wine. Lamb County Sheriff Gary Maddox hopes Wright's arrest sends a message: they won't tolerate sales to minors.

"Probably there will be more of this in the future and they need to make sure they ID and do what the law requires," said Maddox.

"No ID, no sale, no explanation," That's what the sign in the window of Wright's Liquor now reads. He posted it after being caught selling to a minor. Wright tells NewsChannel 11 every person will now be carded no matter what. They've also hired extra staff to card you right as you walk into the store, you're also asked to show ID again at the register.

Ritchie said there is no sure way to keep alcohol away from minors but she's glad the first sting set the tone that sales to minors won't be tolerated. "I was glad they got caught because it is against the law and I don't think our young people need it," says Ritchie.

Charges are pending against Wright at the Lamb County District Attorney's office. The penalty for selling to a minor can result in a fine of up to $4,000 and or going to jail for up to a year.

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