The Wawa store at 38th and Spruce streets spent Monday "dry" after its liquor license was suspended by the state for one day as a result of four counts of liquor law violations dating from 1996. Between 7 a.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday, Wawa's glass cases of beer were covered with cardboard, while a sign posted at the front of the store informed customers of the suspension. The Pennsylvania State Police's Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement fined the store $50 for allowing customers into the aisle where liquor is sold after 2:30 a.m. -- a half-hour past the time that the store is required by law to stop selling alcoholic beverages. The LCE also cited Wawa for failing to have at least a 4-foot barrier between the grocery, deli and eating sections of the store and the part where alcohol is sold. The convenience store was charged $50 for the violation. The last two citations were prompted by the store's failure to maintain proper transaction records and copies of birth certificates for employees under the age of 21 on file in the store as required by law. Wawa received the harshest penalties for the last two violations -- a $100 fine and a one-day suspension of its liquor license -- after a Pennsylvania administrative law judge ruled against the store following a recent hearing. Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce described the citations as a "very minor infraction," adding that the corporation routinely inspects Wawa stores. But LCE Director Bob Hickes stressed the importance of ensuring that stores that sell liquor follow the law --Eespecially as it pertains to stopping sales on time. "In order to maintain the quality of life in the community, one of the most important violations you've got is for hours of operations," Hickes said, arguing that such crimes "lend themselves to the degradation of the neighborhood." Chief Administrative Law Judge Eileen Maunus added that the state has a policy of "progressive discipline" to try to prevent repeat offenses. "The Liquor Board has a program whereby if there are repeat offenses by a licensee for certain types of violations which are 'nuisance' type violations? the Liquor Control Board would refuse to renew their license," Maunus said. That may be one reason that the penalties increased for Wawa's third and fourth violations, although they all occurred at the same time. University Police and Wawa emphasized that the violations took place over a year ago, and that the store's management has changed since then. "It has not been my experience that they take the issue of liquor enforcement lightly," Director of Police Operations Maureen Rush said. Rush described Wawa's new manager, Matt Welch, as "most cooperative" and commended him for "voluntarily shutting down liquor sales for special events" such as Spring Fling and an annual city-wide picnic for African-American Greeks. Although Rush has acknowledged inviting the LCE to the campus in the past, she denied having asked them to investigate Wawa and Hickes refused to identify the complainant that led the LCE to cite the store. Most recently, the LCE was on campus during Spring Fling, when its officers cited approximately 25 students for alcohol-related violations. It also raided the Palladium -- a bar and restaurant at 36th Street and Locust Walk -- for serving alcohol to underage students.Comments powered by Disqus
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