A clerk at O'Brien's Liquors on Dorchester Avenue in Ashmont didn't look up from his phone or ask for ID as a guy handed him money for four six-packs of Twisted Tea - but quickly learned the guy was just 16 after he came back inside with BPD drug-unit officers, who'd just busted him and three of his teen friends in the store parking lot.
O'Brien's owner Abu Zafar apologized profusely to the Boston Licensing Board at a hearing this morning.
"It hurt me a lot, because this is my living," he said.
Zafar said he was out of town during the incident around 5:25 p.m. on April 14. The store manager had gone into the basement to do some stocking and left the counter in charge of a part-time worker who had not had any problems before. According to Zafar, the worker was on his phone, texting, when the teen came up to the counter, paid for the six packs and left with them in two plastic bags. Zafar and police say the clerk never asked for ID.
Lt. Det. Stephen Meade said drug-unit officers outside the store on a different matter, then spotted the guy, whom they thought looked too young to be buying liquor, leave the store and go into the parking lot and hand out the hard iced tea. The officers went up and questioned them and found all of them were 16, Meade said.
Zafar said the worker was fired immediately. He said when he got back, he had a meeting with all the remaining workers at the store to remind them not to pull stuff like that.
Zafar said this is his first violation in the ten years he's owned the store.
The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take, but board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini assured Zafar that "your record [of no previous violations] speaks for itself."