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Fine Recommended for Gas Station Caught Selling Cigarettes to a Minor

Tobacco commission recommends $500 fine for Circle K, the convenience store at a Shell gas station in Wheaton, for allowing a 16-year-old police decoy to buy cigarettes.

Wheaton's tobacco commission will recommend a $500 fine for the owners of Circle K, the convenience store at the Shell gas station at 2025 S. Naperville Rd. after a store clerk sold cigarettes to a 16-year-old decoy sent by Wheaton police. 

According to a city staff memo, Wheaton police sent a minor into the store with directions to try and buy tobacco. The clerk asked asked for the customer's ID and proceeded to sell her the tobacco, according to the memo. The licensee has pleaded guilty to the violation.

Circle K Market Manager Terry Johnson, who manages 15 stores in the Chicago area, told the tobacco commission Thursday that all Circle K employees must enter the customer's birthday in the register, or the system will decline the sale. 

The store clerk entered "1994," not "1996" and later said he'd read the date wrong, Johnson said.

"We take this very seriously... Our cashier made a mistake and it cost him his job. It's unfortunate," he said.

Tobacco commission chair Mark Taylor said the commission will recommend the $500 fine to the mayor for approval.

"We know tobacco is a dangerous substance... We try to discourage our young people from smoking, that's why it's illegal (in Illinois) to sell tobacco to anyone under (the age of) 18," he said.   

This is the second violation for Circle K. Their first violation was in 2010, with a $250 fine. 

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