Keene bars and local stores seeing an increased use of fake identification cards
With the hordes of party goers and the ecstatic glimpse into the offerings of the Keene State College nightlife, local bars and stores are seeing a rise in the use of fake identification.
“Yeah I’ve got a fake ID,” a 19-year-old resident from the Owl’s Nest area of the campus said.
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“I’ve used it a bunch around town, places like Cumberland Farms, Romy’s and a few times at the liquor store. It was sent to a P.O. Box in a small tool bag and it’s got my picture, my signature, my changed birth date, as well as home address. It’s literally the same as a real ID and I use it all the time back home in New York.”
With a student population of around 5,000 and a wide variety of stores to purchase beer, as well as a plethora of bars to choose from, binge drinking is nothing new to KSC.
What is relatively new, courtesy of the manufacturers of particular websites is a full-fledged license that is fitted with scanning capabilities and an almost exact replica to any state’s license.
The 19-year-old resident from Owl’s Nest who asked to remain anonymous said, “It cost over a hundred bucks and we had to send a money transfer to get it, and it was super sketchy, but it works and now I’m the one that’s got to buy alcohol for all my friends.”
But students aren’t the only ones that know about ID Chief. Local bars such as Cobblestone, Lab ‘n Lager, and the Railroad Tavern all require their bouncers to take a formal identification class, taught by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.
“It’s a four-hour class and they literally taught us everything,” a Cobblestone bartender, asking to remain anonymous, said. “And it’s always right at the beginning of the semesters, you’ll see all the waves of kids coming in with fakes or look-alikes and we just take them away. It definitely comes in waves.”
Most bouncers, such as those at Lab ‘n Lager and Cobblestone get a $5 or $10 bonus if they catch a fake. But the Cobblestone bartender added, “With the new ID Chief website, it’s becoming a little bit tougher to pick them out. It takes an extra glance at the spacing and placement of the holographics.”
Officer Ellis of the New Hampshire State Police said, “Kids need to ask themselves if it’s really worth it to take that risk. There’s a lot of underage drinking in the state of New Hampshire and possession of a fake ID is a misdemeanor, but it’s a serious one.”
A misdemeanor that comes with the potential of a $2,000 fine and up to one year sentencing in a corrections facility.
Although Officer Ellis said it’s “rare to be called in for a fake ID violation,” they still happen quite a bit. “Most business establishments will take the fake away and give them to the liquor commission.”
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is responsible for the ensuring of state laws, such as enforcing the drinking age.
A New Hampshire Liquor Commission employee named Bob said, “Most of the ID’s that we obtain are from out-of-staters. Either they’ve come across a way to manufacture a fake, or obtained a look-alike. Both ways, it’s an illegal use of an ID.”
Although the production of fake IDs has taken a rise with the recently shut down ID Chief website, Officer Ellis said there is a task force designated to enforce and maintain the strict conduct of ID’s.
“The Keene bars do pretty well in keeping out underage kids,” a bouncer at Cobblestone, also wishing to remain anonymous, said. “Especially with the college bars like Lab, Penuche’s, and [Cobblestone], everyone knows everyone so it becomes pretty obvious with the crowds.”
Penuche’s bartender Katelyn O’Claire said, “Fake ID’s are pretty easy to spot. The spacing will be wrong, the holographs will be in the wrong places; when people bring them in we just take them away.”
Penuche’s most popular night, “Beat the Clock” on Tuesdays, is when they see the most action for fake IDs, said O’ Claire. “We have a door guy and even though he didn’t take a class or anything, he’ll get two or three every week, but he won’t get a bonus for them. He’s just doing his job.”
Cobblestone however will give its bouncers a bonus if they find a fake ID. Construed from campus gossip, Cobblestone is infamously the most difficult bar to get into with a fake around Keene.
“Majority of the time cops come [to Cobblestone] is for someone that is too drunk and won’t leave and is being removed by force, or a fight outside. We don’t ever call the cops because someone’s got a fake ID. We just won’t let them in and that’s that,” a Cobblestone bartender said.
Places like Kilkenny’s Irish Pub do not see too many fake IDs, said one employee. “The townies know better than to try that stuff here. I can’t remember the last time I saw a fake and I’ve been here for eight years. All that jazz happens at the college bars like Cobblestone, Lab ‘n Lager, and Penuche’s.”
The boldness of some students at KSC and the use of fake IDs has brought an onslaught of tightened security at places like Campus Convenience and the New Hampshire Liquor Store. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission admitted to doing more random checkups on businesses in the past few years due to the rise in fake IDs.
While some students continue to use fakes or look-a-likes from older siblings, business owners are taking ownership of their establishments by being the bouncers themselves. Owner of Lab ‘n Lager, Donny, can be seen bouncing the door multiple times a week, often catching fakes at the beginning of each semester as well.
One KSC sophomore from New York, who asked to remain anonymous, said she has had three fake IDs. “The first one I got off of a website and it came in a pack of two.”
The 19-year-old said she ordered the IDs off of a website.
She then sent in her photo and chose what state she would like the ID from as well as the address she would like to use.
One of the two IDs made on the website was taken from a bar in New York and one was taken at Cumberland Farms in Keene, she said.
The third fake ID is a hand-me-down from her sister. “We look identical, people get us confused in person,” she said.
She said having her sisters is much easier to use than the two IDs ordered off of the website. “I know all the information on it because we have the same address and I know her name and birthday.”
The student said she has used her fake ID at stores in Keene as well as at the liquor store, gas stations, and supermarkets.
She said she has not yet used it at a Keene bar. “Once my friends get them too,” she said she will try it. “I have no rush. I’m just glad I have it so that I can buy alcohol and am not scrambling to find someone to buy it.”
Cam King can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.