It seems like law enforcement conducts these stings pretty often these days (see LoCO‘s most recent documented examples farther down). Not buying alcohol for youngish looking people you just met outside a liquor store is probably a good personal policy going forward.

Eureka Police Department press release: 

On 2/28/2015, the Eureka Police conducted a program called a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation which targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age. Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol.

The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The program is intended to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics show they generally have a higher rate of drunken driving crashes than adults. Studies also show the combination of alcohol and youth tends to increase criminal conduct. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.

Shanon Dennis Korb, 41 years old, of Trinidad was arrested during the operation for furnishing alcoholic beverages to the minor decoys.

The operation took place at several establishments licensed to sell alcohol. The Eureka Police Department wishes to extend its gratitude to the employees of the businesses that were alert and aware enough to run off our decoys from the front area of their businesses.

This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy / Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.