Fake IDs, real penalties

Mandi Noyes

Local bars, stores discuss various methods of determining a fake ID

Jay Steinhaur, above, checks an ID at 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. Many attempt to use fake ones, but most stores and bars catch them in the act.

Credit: Andrew popik

Krystle Neeb received a fake ID from her aunt last year.

Neeb, junior psychology major, never was afraid of taking the risk of getting caught. She used the ID until her 21st birthday March 13. She went everywhere with the ID and never got questioned.

Although related, there was no resemblance. Krystle had long dark brown hair while her aunt had short, light brown hair with chunky blond streaks.

This is not the typical result for someone using a fake ID.

Students attempt to use fake IDs, but stores and bars pick up on the tell-tale signs of wannabe underage drinkers.

Justin Clemens, owner of 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, said he has seen many people attempt to use someone else’s real ID as their own. Clemens’ store is one of many in the area that has a wall covered with fake IDs they have confiscated.

Bill Paynter, an assistant manager at BP in Kent, said the material of the ID can determine if it is authentic. When a driver’s license is artificially made, it has no official holograms, he said.

He said he also has seen people use a paper ID and glue a real ID over it.

Neeb said it was worth having the fake because she could buy her own alcohol and her friends were under 21.

Brian Pelsozy, sophomore business management major, said he does not see the value of having a fake ID because he is fortunate enough to have older friends.

“I see no real need of a fake because I know 21 year olds who would go out of their way for me,” he said. “Or, if they wouldn’t get alcohol for me, I could always drive to Canada to get drunk.”

Paynter said BP is not out to get students, it is just doing its job.

Any store selling to an underage customer gets fined $25,000 for a first offense, and the fine goes up for each additional offense, said Paramjit Singh, the owner of BP. The store can also temporarily lose its license. The worker who sold to the person underage can get a jail sentence.

Paynter said it is always better to be safe than sorry.

“(BP) reserves the right to not sell alcohol or tobacco to anybody if we are suspicious,” he said. “People need to keep in mind the risk to the ones selling the alcohol and tobacco.”

Singh said BP is trying to run a clean business.

“People get pissed off,” he said. “Cops watch, though, and check IDs.”

Clemens said if he thinks the ID may be fake, he will ask for another form of ID.

“I will ask for a credit card or some other form of card with their name on it,” he said. “Who only carries one form of ID with them? If it was really you, wouldn’t you have some other kind of ID with your name on it?”

Clemens said this is usually the stopper.

The last four digits of the social security number, the ID’s zip code and the birth astrological sign are the top three questions Clemens asks when in doubt.

Some stores use a scanner to check identification, but Clemens said 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall does not because he said it does not do a good job. He said the scanners only detect if the ID is a real person or not. He doesn’t want to take the chance of an ID being a real ID but not of the person presenting it, he said.

Having small talk at the register is another example of a possible fake ID, Clemens said. He said sometimes when someone is nervous they talk a lot when bringing beer to the register.

Marc Fuller, a manager at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar in Kent, agrees.

He said he has seen people come into the bar talking to their friend and not looking at him when presenting their ID.

“They look away when they walk toward me,” he said. “They become nervous and hope that by talking to their friend while walking in will distract me.”

Fuller said questions such as what is the street address and what are surrounding cities are two questions that usually stop the person from entering the bar.

“There was this kid who got into the bar somehow and was acting nervous when sitting at the bar,” he said. “He kept asking questions to the bartender like, ‘What kind of drinks do you have?’ He ended up ordering a drop shot and was sipping on it — you don’t sip on a drop shot!”

Craig Flament, a manager at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kent, said he checks for eyebrows, cheekbones and eye color. If someone claims to wear contacts, he will ask them to slide one of the contacts over, he said.

Pelsozy said the desire to have a fake ID is up to the person.

“I personally think it is a huge risk,” he said. “But if you think it is worth the money and the risk, then go for it.”

Contact news correspondent Mandi Noyes at [email protected].