Orleans market loses liquor license for 3 days

The Cape Cod Times reports that the Orleans Board of Selectmen ordered a convenience store’s liquor sales license suspended for three days after a police sting caught an employee selling beer to someone under 21.

An employee at the Hess Mart at 401 South Orleans Road on June 20 sold a six-pack of Budweiser Light to an underage person who was cooperating with the police, according to Orleans police Lt. Kevin Higgins.

The severity of the penalty came largely because the town’s liquor stores had been amply warned in advance of an upcoming police sting operation, the four selectmen at the meeting said. Also, the store’s location in a remoter part of town has a record of three or four violations, the selectmen said.

The store came under the management of Hess Mart of Massachusetts in 2009, Hess Mart regional manager Peter Frattarola said. Most of the previous violations were prior to Hess Mart taking over the site, Higgins said.

Historically, the selectmen have issued a warning for a first offense and then increased the severity of the penalty with more violations, up to and including revocation of a license, Town Administrator John Kelly said.

The vote of the selectmen was unanimous.

The selectmen, as the town licensing authority, held the show-cause hearing to gather evidence about why the store’s liquor license should not be modified, suspended or revoked due to the violation, in accordance with state law.

Higgins, Frattarola and Police Chief Scott MacDonald spoke to the selectmen during the hearing.

The employee of nine months who sold the beer was fired, Frattarola said.

Over the summer, police conducted sting operations on all nine businesses that have what are informally called off-premise consumption liquor licenses, according to Higgins. All the establishments were checked on June 20 in the sting operation, and all passed except the Hess Mart, Higgins said.