On Thursday, September 8, 2011 Polk County Sheriff’s Office, School Resource deputies, along with the assistance of a PCSO Explorer, (Explorers are high school student volunteers), conducted “Operation Pop-Top” in an effort to combat the illegal sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors. The operation was conducted in the south Lakeland and Bartow areas of Polk County.
The following stores were found to be in compliance with Florida State Statutes:
- CITGO - 1435 S. Combee Road, Lakeland
- Connersville Bait and Tackle – 3805 S.R. 60 East Bartow
- Circle K – 5299 Highway. 60 East Bartow
- Shell Gas Station – 7695 Highway 60 East Bartow
One store was found not to be in compliance with Florida State Statutes:
- Sunoco – 2225 S. Combee Road, Lakeland
Store clerk Devang K. Patel, I/M, 08-15-84, was arrested for the sale of an alcoholic beverage to a minor and transported to the Polk County Jail.
"Operation Pop Top is an effective community awareness tool," said Sheriff Grady Judd. "When proprietors see that we will not tolerate the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to minors, it sets a precedent. I commend the businesses which were in compliance."