YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County deputy sheriffs issued four citations during a sting operation targeting establishments that sell tobacco products to underage teens.
A 50-year-old female clerk at the Red & amp; White Supermarket on Market Street sold cigars to a 16-year-old boy around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday without asking for identification, police said.
The same teen purchased cigarettes from a vending machine at Chrystal's restaurant on Belmont Avenue around 12:20 p.m., police said. There, a male manager, no age given, who was working behind a bar, took the teen's cash. The manager made change and placed the change in the machine, retrieving the cigarettes for the boy. He did not ask for proof of age.
Around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, another 16-year-old boy purchased cigars from a 37-year-old male clerk at the Petra Food Mart on South Avenue, police said. The clerk did not ask for proof of age.
Around 11:50 a.m., the teen went to the BW3 Bar & amp; Grill on East Federal Plaza and bought cigarettes from a vending machine while a 21-year-old female employee watched from behind a bar, about 15 feet away, without asking for identification, police reports show.
It is illegal in Ohio to sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 18. Maj. Michael Budd of the sheriff's department said the sting operation visited 12 establishments in Youngstown, Boardman and Austintown on Tuesday. Teens who helped are part of the department's Explorers group, a joint effort with the Boy Scouts of America.