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On Friday, July 21, 2023, deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office visited 12 convenience stores in the Lakeland, Bartow, Homeland, and Fort Meade areas in the ongoing Operation Pop Top campaign against illegal alcohol sales.
The checks resulted in the arrest of a sales clerk at the 7-Eleven store at 1385 N. Broadway Avenue in Bartow. 62-year old Patricia Bishop of Lakeland was arrested after she sold a 25-ounce can of Bud Light beer to a 17-year old.
The juvenile is a PCSO Explorer who was working with the PCSO on the operation. The Explorer program is for high school students who are interested in a career in law enforcement and they frequently take part in these checks.
"Deputies are constantly conducting these checks on stores that sell alcohol. The intent is to ensure that they are compliant with state laws regarding alcohol sales by not selling alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years of age. While we expect people to drink responsibly, we also expect retailers to sell responsibly." - Grady Judd, Sheriff
Bishop was charged with Selling Alcohol to an Underage Person (M2).
The other 11 stores that were checked on Friday refused to sell an alcoholic beverage to the juvenile.
Additionally, one store was checked and found to be in compliance with Kratom sales.