On Thursday, October 20, 2011, Polk County Sheriff’s 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 Bartow and Lakeland areas of Polk County.
Five stores were checked, and three were found in compliance with Florida State Statutes -- the BP gas station, located at 4225 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland; the 7-11 store located at 290 Lakeland Park Blvd. in Lakeland; and the Foodmart store located at 655 N. Socrum Loop Rd. in Lakeland.
At the Town Liquor store, located at 5635 North Socrum Loop Road in Lakeland, the clerk sold alcohol to the minor. Hasmukh Manilal Patel, DOB 2/2/1938, of 5527 N. Cove in Lakeland, was arrested and charged with one count Sale of Alcoholic Beverage to a Minor.
At the Racetrac store, located at 1690 North Broadway in Bartow, the clerk sold alcohol to the minor. The clerk's name has been redacted from this release per court order.