Liquor police cite 23 people at Blarney Stone

Seven citations for possession of a fake ID and 21 citations for underage drinking were issued

· December 17, 2013, 3:07 pm

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Twenty-three people were cited at the Blarney Stone early Saturday morning when state officers inspected the local bar.

Of the 23 people who were cited on Dec. 14, 21 received citations for underage drinking, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement Sergeant Dan Steele said. Another seven received citations for carrying a false identification card. However, no arrests were made.

Steele said that a majority of those who received citations at the bar at 39th and Sansom streets were Penn students, although he could not provide an exact number of Penn students who were cited.

As part of the open inspection, officers from the BLCE entered the bar while undercover, Steele said. When they suspected that there were underage drinkers at the bar, the officers revealed their badges and began requesting identification from those present.

After the BLCE entered the bar, Kevin Kearney, owner of Blarney Stone, said that officers told him to close it down because there were too many people to inspect everyone’s IDs individually.

The bar closed at around 12:15 a.m. Saturday morning, Kearney said. He added that he was surprised to see the BLCE officers on Saturday just after midnight.

“I walked down into a full bar from a busy kitchen and the next thing I see is liquor control officers,” Kearney said.

However, Kearney noted that Blarney Stone reopened for business Saturday night, and opened for business hours on Sunday and Monday as well. He said he “plans on running business as usual” at the bar unless BLCE tells him otherwise.

At the time of Saturday’s inspection, about 75 to 100 people were in the bar, Steele said. Kearney said that the number of patrons was closer to 200 that night.

There were four security guards at Blarney Stone on Friday night into Saturday morning, Kearney said. Two were at the front entrance, one was at the back entrance and one was behind the bar.

Steele said that the guards at the front entrance were physically checking IDs that night, although the IDs were not being scanned.

He also said that the investigation followed concerns that Penn Police have shared with BLCE over the past several months, but he added that Saturday’s inspection was BLCE’s initiative.

“We took it upon ourselves to check the location for [underage drinkers],” Steele said.

The Division of Public Safety, which oversees Penn Police, acknowledged that Penn Police officers assisted BLCE officers with their investigation, but deferred comment about Saturday’s operation to the BLCE.

In late January, Blarney Stone failed a compliance test administered by the BLCE. As part of that test, an underage buyer was served alcohol without Blarney Stone requesting identification from that person.

Steele noted, though, that on Oct. 9, 2013, Blarney Stone passed a BLCE age compliance test when it refused to serve alcohol to an underage buyer.

Steele said that as a result of Saturday morning’s operation, Blarney Stone will receive an administrative citation with an “enhanced penalty.”

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