|Published:||Mar 01, 2013 12:29 AM EST|
|Updated:||Mar 01, 2013 12:29 AM EST|
FORT MYERS, FL--WINK News continues to follow the downtown drinking dilemma. In the past few months we've told you about Fort Myers Police cracking down on bars and restaurants to make sure customers aren't walking off with alcohol.
The bartender was given a ticket because she did not stop an undercover police officer from walking off with their drink. Now she and her co-workers are scared they will get another ticket while waiting on outside tables.
Last December Melisa Montanez was serving drinks from the outside bar at Red Rock Bar and Saloon.
"The next thing I knew somebody came back and said we can arrest you right now, you just served an undercover cop because he walked away with his drink," said Montanez.
Fort Myers Police slapped her with a ticket and a court date. For the past few months FMPD has warned bars and restaurants that their staff would be cited if customers walk off with alcohol, but Montanez says she did everything she legally had to do.
"Once I hand you the drink and you are 21 and it is in a plastic cup, I did my job," she said.
This week, Montanez' lawyer found out the charges were dismissed and according FMPD the state dropped the charges because of a paperwork technicality.
"I am not exactly sure why they are going after these people," said Fort Myers attorney Spencer Cordell.
Attorney Spencer Cordell says he has found no law that legally holds the bartenders responsible.
"Walking around with an open container is an independent criminal act from serving somebody lawfully on a patio," said Cordell.
Some other establishments downtown say it is the law and they do what it takes to obey.
"We also have someone standing out there watching for people that are going to be leaving with drinks," said The Morgan House chef Corry Blanton.
But Montanez says all of this just gets in the way of people having a good time.
"None of the girls want to come outside and work the bar after this happened," she said.
Since December 1st last year, FMPD has only issued four citations to bar and restaurant employees.
With Art Walk tomorrow night, they say they will keep enforcing all open container laws.
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