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SHOULDER TAP

4 adults caught buying booze for girls

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SHOULDER TAP

Manteca Police officer Mike Kelley explains the consequences of up to $1,000 in fines for buying alcoholic beverages for minors to Richard Marlon, 45, of Manteca. He was briefly detained in handc...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED January 5, 2013 12:42 a.m.

An undercover “shoulder tap” police sting operation that focuses on adults buying alcohol for minors can create instant embarrassment and leave the suspects about $1,000 poorer upon conviction.

Officers from the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Manteca Police Department set up the clandestine activity outside four Manteca liquor stores beginning about 3 p.m. Friday. Four adults ended up being cited.

Two girls, 17 and 20 years old, stood in front of the stores and asked patrons the question and explained their ages and asked the men if they would buy beer for them – adding that they had the money.  They were under the constant watchful eye of Manteca Police Sergeant Jodie Estarziau.

Several men who the girls approached shook their heads no, but four took the money and bought the girls the beer they said they wanted.

The first to be detained by officers was Richard Marlon, 45, of Manteca.  Marlon went into the Manteca and Food Market at 892 North Main Street.  After he returned with the beer and handed it to the girls, he was surrounded by several officers including Mark Gedney and Lori Kohman of the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The Manteca Mart Liquors was the second destination for the officers on Northwoods Avenue just north of East Yosemite Avenue.  The girls stood near the corner of the building as a 45-year-old man claiming to be homeless approached the girls and agreed to buy them two cans of beer.

With the beer in hand, he told them to follow him up Northwoods Avenue where he would turn the cans of Bud Light over to them.  At that point officers in a black and white patrol car and an unmarked car cut the man off near the corner at McNary Circle and put him in handcuffs.

Toby Cummins, 52, was taken into custody, but not just for providing the girls with alcoholic beverages.  He was found to be on parole for a conviction on terrorist threat charges, police said.

Officers set up another sting at Tower Mart Liquors on West Louise Avenue just east of North Main Street in the Orchard Supply Shopping Center.  Motorists were more interested in the pizza parlor located next door to the liquor store and the best the girls could get was to get a single “no way” shake of the head.

Then at 5:30, the team moved to the Quik Stop Convenience Store and gas station at the corner of Union Road and Louise Avenue.  Again they would find someone willing to purchase beer for them, but Moses Mathias Sierra, 29, had other problems, too. 

After officers had put the man in handcuffs for everyone’s safety as he started to pump gas, they discovered he had been driving on a suspended license and that his car’s registration was outdated since 2011.

And, finally, shortly after 6 p.m., they teamed up one more time at the Union Station Convenience Store on North Union Road at Cherry Lane where another subject took the bid seriously to buy the girls their beer.

None of the Manteca stores were involved in the sting with the police.

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