If your underage kid attempts to purchase booze at the Jersey Shore this summer, they may be in handcuffs within seconds.

Brick Township police cruiser (Brick Police)

Thanks to another round of federal grants, more than 30 shore towns are participating in an underage drinking sting that places undercover officers inside and outside select liquor stores.

"Sometimes we're behind the counter. Sometimes we're just customers. Other times we can be doing surveillance in the parking lot," said Sgt. Neal Pedersen of the Brick Police Department.

The Cops in Shops initiative also targets legal-age individuals who are willing to purchase alcohol for the underage crowd.

"If we catch you, you will be arrested and charged," Pedersen said.

The following towns are participating in the 2017 initiative, which began on June 23:

  • Asbury Park
  • Atlantic City
  • Atlantic Highlands
  • Avalon
  • Barnegat Twp.
  • Beach Haven
  • Belmar
  • Berkeley Twp.
  • Brick Twp.
  • Cape May
  • Egg Harbor Twp.
  • Galloway Twp.
  • Harvey Cedars
  • Jackson Twp.
  • Lake Como
  • Lakehurst
  • Lakewood
  • Lower Twp.
  • Manchester Twp.
  • Middle Twp.
  • Neptune Twp.
  • North Wildwood
  • Northfield
  • Ocean Twp. (Ocean County)
  • Point Pleasant Beach
  • Point Pleasant Borough
  • Red Bank
  • Sea Isle City
  • Ship Bottom
  • Township of Ocean (Monmouth County)
  • Union Beach
  • Wildwood

Grants this year from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety range from $1,200 to $6,200, for a total of $81,000, to fund the undercover operations.

"You get a lot of these kids coming down with fake IDs, and some of them are really good," said Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr., whose city has participated in Cops in Shops for several years. "If you have establishments that sell alcohol and you're a shore town, believe me — there's kids coming."

According to a November 2016 news release from the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, last year's summer initiative resulted in 229 arrests.

Similar stings have occurred in the fall, targeting New Jersey's college towns.

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