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Grover Beach sees stings for walking and smoking

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On the night of Feb. 20, the Grover Beach Police Department made an arrest and issued four citations during a pedestriand decoy operation on West Grand Avenue and on North 4th Street at Atlantic City Avenue.

During the two-hour period, four citations were issued to drivers who failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian decoy. One additional driver was stopped for the same violation but was arrested for allegedly driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"We do that a couple times a year to help remind the motoring pubic to share the road with pedestrians," said Lt. John Peters. "It's a preventive measure."

The fines for failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk range from $130 to $340.

Also, a pair of Grover Beach stores were recently busted for selling tobacco to a minor.

On Feb. 15, the Grover Beach Police Department joined forces with the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department Control Program and set up compliance check on 14 Grover Beach stores. Two of them, Save-on Cigarettes at 1051 W. Grand Ave. and Grand Liquor at 816 W. Grand Ave., were cited for selling tobacco products to an underage decoy.

Under an ordinance Grover Beach adopted in 2005, merchants must obtain a city license, in addition to a state license, to sell tobacco.

Save-on Cigarettes owner Susan Kurdi said that she didn't believe the sting was conducted appropriately.

"I was put in a trap," she said. "The way it happened was not right. They came in and tried to trick me."

She added that she plans to keep her business and go in the right direction, namely by not selling cigarettes to minors.

Grand Liquor owner Tom Herndon said that he's upset his store's nearly three-decade citation-free streak was gone up in smoke.

"In 27 years we have never been cited for alcohol or tobacco," he said, noting that he was irritated by the clerk who was working when the citation was issued.

Herndon said that Grand Liquor employees are very diligent when it comes to checking IDs and even shoo away underage people who hang around outside in the hopes that someone older will buy them alcohol.

Herndon said that his store will try harder to make sure a similar situation does not happen again.

Because of the sting, both stores could face a 30-day tobacco license suspension.

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