Bar owner reacts to employee being caught in underage sting - WBNG.com: Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Bar owner reacts to employee being caught in underage sting

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(WBNG) -- New York State Police caught four bars in Broome County serving alcoholic drinks to minors.

Owner of Mary's Bar and Lounge Marty Olenski said he felt his bar was targeted in the sting. 

"We've been in business for 60 years here and never created a problem," said Olenski. "When they send in some of these decoys they dress them to look a little bit older." 

Captain Jeffrey VanAuken of the New York State Police said these stings are done almost every month or at least every quarter. 

"We randomly pick establishments that sell alcohol whether that be a bar or convenience store," he said. 
 
He explained they will send into the bar an underage operative, who is 17 to 19 years old, with an undercover cop. 

"There's no deceit involved, if they're asked for identification they'll show their legitimate identification," said VanAuken. 

He explained the undercover officer is there to watch the situation unfold. 

Related: Police: 4 Southern Tier bars sold alcohol to 'underage operatives'

In Saturday's sting Capt. VanAuken said nine business were checked and four didn't pass. Those included The New Yorker, Barnaby's Pub, Blind Tiger Pub, and Mary's Bar and Lounge. 

"I think it was a temporary lack of judgment," said Olenski who explained the bar is typically vigilant. "We're not a 'kids bar,' we've turned away many, many people." 

He said it's all an unfortunate situation.

"I feel sorry for all the other bars and it's hard in this area, a lot of places are struggling too and paying for the fines is going to be tough for some," said Olenski. 

Capt. VanAuken said the stings are a necessary check. 

"Drinking alcoholic beverages turns into them driving intoxicated and that's a huge problem that we have. Driving while intoxicated can result in death or injuries through automobile crashes and we need to mitigate that and that's how we do it, we do it through underage drinking initiatives," he explained.

Capt. VanAuken added that he wants business to learn from the sting. 

"If a person looks like they're less than 40 years old you really gotta get proper identification for them," he said.  

Olenski said they're already looking ahead. 
 
"Going forward I think we could be more vigilant possibly getting an ID scanner," he said. 

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