KEPR investigates where businesses sell booze to kids

TRI-CITIES -- Action News is digging through the numbers to see which county is most likely to sell booze or tobacco to your child.

It doesn't matter how many signs there are, or how many times teens are told, chances are many will still try to get their hands on booze or tobacco.

"If they're under 30, I card them," says convenience store worker Angie Chambliss

Chambliss has seen her share of fake I.D.'s, but her resolve stayed the same: no minors will ever score alcohol or cigarettes under her watch.

"I do not want to sell to minors. I won't take the risk," Chambliss tells KEPR.

Unfortunately, that's not the case with dozens of other businesses around our area. KEPR Action News pulled the numbers to see where businesses were busted selling tobacco and booze to teens.

Yakima County led central Washington with more than 80 violations. That's followed by Benton County with 31 violations and Franklin County with 12. Rounding out the list is Walla Walla County with only nine violations in all of last year.

To keep this story balanced, we tried to talk to some of the businesses that made those lists, but no one wanted to go on camera. KEPR also asked local teens how easy it is to score tobacco or booze.

A surprising response was that they're less likely to try to buy it themselves and more likely to have a friend's parent willing to make the buy.

"Most of the people have friends over 21 and they can get alcohol for them," says one teen.

Most underage sales happened at convenience stores and most only had to be busted once to make changes.

Under state law, clerks could be fired if they're caught selling to minors.