FOLSOM – Three people were arrested in Folsom for buying alcohol for a minor after they were approached outside of a liquor store.
41-year-old Christopher Cloud and 45-year-old Paul Daniel Connors, both of Folsom, and Valerio Rendon, 56 of Georgetown were all arrested in a ‘Shoulder Tap’ operation by the Folsom Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit. A minor under direct supervision of an officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store. He or she will tell a patron that they can’t purchase the alcohol themselves because they are underage. If the adult agrees to buy it for them, they are arrested and cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor.
According to Eric Heichlinger of the Special Investigations Unit, the decoy minor will hand over money once the subject agrees to help. Once the liquor is purchased, and given to the minor, the decoy will then leave the scene. It is then that the suspect is detained by officers and cited for the action, leaving the decoy minor out of the arrest activity.
The program is funded by a state program, the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, designed to reduce underage and excessive drinking. In addition to this type of operation, they also conduct programs where the minor attempts to buy alcohol directly from a store, as well as “party patrols” designed to identify Friday and Saturday night parties where underage drinking may be taking place. Folsom is one of twelve communities selected to be part of the project. This grant will provide three years of operations in partnership with Sacramento County’s Department of Behavioral Health Services and Office of Education, The Folsom Cordova School District, and People Reaching Out. People Reaching Out is a private non-profit organization based in Sacramento with the goal of supporting and equipping young people with the skills to define their own futures and to succeed in school, community and family life.
According to Heichlinger, if a person were approached and agreed to buy the liquor, but then reported the incident, that would be a good outcome. “Our goal is to have no sales take place” he said. Merchants have also been much better about checking IDs and denying sales to minor, he reported.
The penalty for being a “cool guy” and buying liquor for minors is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.