Increase seen in illegal alcohol transactions outside area package stores

In this photo, the Storrs Wine and Spirits sign hands above the storefront in Storrs Center. On Sept. 11, several students from the University of Connecticut were arrested outside Storrs Wine and Spirits for providing alcohol to minors. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

On Sept. 11, several students from the University of Connecticut were arrested outside Storrs Wine and Spirits for providing alcohol to minors, a transaction not uncommon at package stores near campus, among other charges.

Joshua Leventhal and Matthew Mendonta, both 20, used fake IDs to purchase alcohol from the store. Both men were arrested on charges of criminal impersonation and distribution of alcohol to minors, according to the UConn police’s arrest records.

Police first observed the men after several packages and cash were exchanged with a group of other students in front of the store. Further investigation revealed that the group of students were underage. A case of beer and a paper bag holding two bottles of liquor were exchanged.

The students were later released on bail pending an upcoming court date. No known charges have been leveled against the underaged students involved in the transaction.

Later that same week Daniel Cohen, 18, was arrested outside of Ted’s Spirit Shop for providing alcohol to a minor, according to UConn police records.

These transactions are becoming so commonplace that students are getting brazen about it.

“I’ve witnessed girls standing outside the liquor store asking people who walked by to buy alcohol for them,” said Mary Doucette, a seventh-semester business major.          

Purchases made for minors are not the only issues plaguing Storrs Wine and Spirits. Some students report varying experiences with the store’s procedures for ensuring that customers are of age. 

“I’ve been in there several times, and I’ve never been carded,” Doucette said. 

However, UConn alum Giovanni Miranda, said that he was always carded upon any purchases made since its opening.

The owner and managers of Storrs Wine and Spirits were unavailable for comment.

UConn Police Lieutenant Gary Andruskiewicz said that the department recently received a new grant to further address this issue. More information regarding the grant will be released later this week.


Sarah McNeal is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at sarah.mcneal@uconn.edu.