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Retailers Get Stern Warning

In a special public hearing yesterday five Cary, Ill. retailers had the chance to defend their violation of the village's tobacco ordinance.

Employees from five chains, including convenience retailers Clark Retail Enterprise Inc. and two White Hen Pantry stores, were caught selling cigarettes to a minor about two months ago during a village compliance check, according to the Chicago (Ill.) Daily Herald.

The check, which was organized by the Cary Police Department and part of a state tobacco enforcement program, involved sending a minor under 18 into several stores in Cary selling tobacco products. Mayor Don Huffer said about 70 percent of the establishments checked were compliant, the report said.

While Huffer only issued warnings to the retailers, he stressed the importance of compliance and said more checks may take place in the future. "I'm not trying to hurt any businesses," he said. "We need to do [the checks] to make sure stores in the town are complying with the law."

Those who were not compliant spoke before Huffer, village attorney John Roth and acting Police Chief Ron Delelio. During their comments, most of the retailers admitted they were at fault for selling tobacco to underage customers, but were upset about the time lapse between the transaction and the citation, which came recently, Delelio said.

"I guess the timeline here was the concern -- why we were not ticketed immediately," said Megan Reasor, who represented the White Hen Pantry, according to the report.

Roth responded to Reasor's comments saying the time lapse does not affect the validity of the offense. He said as long as the offenders are still around, the case stands.
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