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The Polk County Sheriff's Office conducted an "Operation Pop-Top" on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at eight different convenience stores in the Auburndale and Winter Haven areas. The ongoing operation is designed to ensure that stores within the county are compliant with state laws by not selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age.
Deputies are assisted in the operation by a PCSO Explorer who makes the attempt to purchase alcohol. The Explorer program is for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement. In this particular operation, the Explorer was 15-years-old.
Out of the eight stores visited by Deputies and the Explorer on Tuesday, seven of the stores were compliant.
51-year old Nola McKinzie of Lakeland, who is employed by the Circle K store at 1000 US 92 W. in Auburndale, was charged with the misdemeanor crime after she allowed a 15-year old to purchase an alcoholic beverage.
The nine stores which refused to sell the alcoholic beverage to the Explorer were:
• Shell, 1795 Berkley Rd., Auburndale
• Berkley Marathon, 1114 Berkley Rd., Auburndale
• RaceTrac, 2227 US 92 W, Auburndale
• 7-Eleven, 420 Magnolia Ave., Auburndale
• Little C Store, 229 Dairy Rd., Auburndale
• Chevron, 549 E Bridger Ave., Auburndale
• Twin Brothers, 3250 Lake Alfred Rd., Winter Haven
“The stores and employees who were found to be in compliance with the law are to be congratulated. Each store and the employees must ensure that they do not sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age. We do these operations often, and we will hold stores and employees accountable.” - Grady Judd, Sheriff