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September 07, 2011 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Under the black light
How bouncers catch take IDs and
underage students get past the rope

9 P.M. I{The seat of the chair is worn,
and I can feel the frayed edges of the
leather as my feet hang above the
ground. The air is hot and sticky just
inside the door.
A few tables are open, and the
crowd at the bar is only one person
deep. The lights are dimmed, but
it doesn't seem particularly dark. I
don't notice the volume of the other
noise in the bar.
"We're not FBI agents. We're not
supposed to be experts at spotting
every little detail in a fake ID," said
Russell Dobson, picking up from
where he left off. "Like you said,
you can buy some of these IDs from
China that look 100 percent authen-
tic, and they're hard to catch."
Five minutes earlier onthe Thurs-
day of Welcome Week I walked into
Good Time Charley's and handed
Dobson, a bouncer at the popular
campus bar on South University
Avenue, one of my fake IDs - a driv-
er's license from Maine that shows
I'm 22 and living at an address I
never bothered to memorize.
He let me in.
Good Time Charley's: 38 attempted
It's 7:30 p.m. in the middle of
August. The sun is still up. Almost
all the tables outside are filled, seat-
ed for dinner, but inside the tables
are mostly empty.
Kyle Froelich, the manager at
Charley's known simply as "Fro,"
towers over me, and even when
we're seated at a table, it's hard not
to feel intimidated - scared even.
But it's not his height that's get-
ting to me. Two weeks ago I was
here celebrating my 21st birthday.
And months before that I was here
drinking illegally, handing one
of my four IDs to the servers and
bouncers at the door after 9 p.m.
Now here I am, sitting down for
my first interview, hoping that when
I make it to the end I have enough
courage to spread my contraband
on the table, look each of the gate-
keepers to my social life in the eye
and tell them: You served alcohol to
-a minor.
Types of false identification
21 FAKE ,

one under the age of 21 is illegal -
though some legally allow minors in
the bar or restaurant if accompanied
by a parent or guardian.
According to Douglas Lewis, the
director of Student Legal Services,
many students in Ann Arbor caught
with fake identification are not
turned over to police by the bars.
"A person will be asked for their
identification. When they fumble for
it, the fake is visible inside of their
wallet or purse," Lewis said. "You
don't have to be buying alcohol, sim-
ply possessing (a fake ID) is illegal."
Using false or another person's
identification to purchase alcohol is
a misdemeanor punishable by up to
93 days in jail, a fine no more than
$100 or both, according to Sgt. Bob
Pfannes of the Ann Arbor Police
Department Professional Standards
Students aren't the only ones at
risk. Employees at Ann Arbor bars
can be cited with a misdemean-
or punishable by 60 days in jail,
a $1,000 fine or both for the first
offense for knowingly allowing the
use of false identification.
Additionally, three citations at a
single location within one year can
result in a suspension of the bar's
liquor license, said Pfannes.
Though the penalty is severe,
many bars accept that they can't
catch every fake - and when it
comes to the law they don't have to.
The Michigan Liquor Control
Code asks businesses to make a
"diligent inquiry" - this is further
defined as a "diligent good faith
effort" using an official photo ID -
to verify the person's identity and
age. While the MLCC provides sev-
eral resources to help businesses
meet this requirement, how bars
decide to screen their customers is
left up to the owners.
Rick's American Cafe: 40 attempted
In December, I bought my second
fake ID. My old one had me turning
27 in February and with all of my
friends turning 21 over the next few
months I didn't want to be left out.
At the time, the website www.
idchief.com had its "novelty" ver-
sion of the Pennsylvania driver's
license splashed across the home
page as its best product. Swipe,
hologram and black light - it all
checked out. Matt Dedes, assistant
manager at Rick's American Cafe
on Church Street, heard about an
influx of Pennsylvania IDs thatwere
particularly difficult to catch.
"I remember last fall they were
starting to come in and then obvi-

Some imperfections the
bouncers are looking for:
" Glue lines, raised
edges at the photo
" No shadows on the
photo background
* Keys or "authentic"
in the hologram
" Alterations in the
state logo
" Writing on the back
" Matching signature
- Height of person
" Color of card features
" Blurry text, printing
" Magnetic strip
embedded in the
- Uniform font
" Alterations in the
" Correct holograms
" Peeling at the edges
" Texture and weight
" Printing details
INSIDER'S TIP: The only 't'
on the old Michigan ID that
does't have a curve at the
bottom is in "Height"
UV lights, also known as black
lights, will reveal hidden images in
some state identifications - the new
Michigan driver's license carries a
bright green print of the cardhold-
er's photo on the back.
For some of the better fakes, like
the ones from Pennsylvania, the
bouncers at Rick's will check the
University's online student directo-
ry and compare the date the account
was created to the date of birth. An
account created within the past two
years usually means the student is
With up to 700 IDs passing by the
bouncers during a busy night, who-
ever is working at the door has to
stay alert, Dedes said.

11:30 P.M. ( There is a pad and pen
on the hostess stand with four sig-
natures scrawled across.
"I want you to sign your namelike
you have it signed on this license,"
Dobson said while holding the girl's
Dobson and Tim, a former bounc-
er assisting at the door at Charley's
who requested to have his name
changed to protect his identity, are
sharing one of their techniques for
weeding out minors using some-
one else's ID. I doubt they usually
do this, but it can't hurt to be extra
careful when you are being watched.
"See, that's a pretty surefire way.
That was definitely her signature,"
Dobson said.
"You have to really take the time
to learn the intricate ways of how
the other person signs their name,"
Tim explained.
"Then they deserve a drink,"
Dobson added.
Dobson and Tim went through a
shadowing process as part of their
training that included at least two
shifts at the door. It didn't sound
like enough, but by the end of the
night I feel qualified for the job - at
least the screening part of it.
"I actually recognize the provin-
cial driver's licenses from India now
because I see them so often," Dob-
son said.
For the identification cards he
doesn't recognize, he can consult an
ID reference book provided by the
state. Every restaurant and bar that
serves alcohol is supposed to have
one, complete with pictures of the
different versions of valid IDs from
every state and descriptions of secu-
rity features to look for. Many of
the bars have a separate book with
international forms of identification
as well.
It comes in handy when some-
one hands Dobson a driver's license
from Delaware. "A Delaware
license, alright, let's have fun," he
says. "Let's see how legit this Dela-
ware license is."
He isn't suspicious; he genuine-
ly doesn't know what a Delaware
license is supposed to look like. If he
had seen a couple of them, he might

ously we started to hear word that "There's just
there were entire sororities order- can look for," D
ing them," he said. "Obviously, we they're standin
discriminate against Pennsylvania of discussings
now." the chatter. So'
Ann Arbor bars only have so down to the doo
many ways to determine if an ID for this one here
is legitimate and not just produced "A lot of pet
with an expensive printer. Cards already had a fe
with magnetic strips can be swiped realize how far,
through credit card machines, and guess."
a real magnetic strip will register
in the system and display "invalid Denied somewhere


little things you
edes explained. "If
g outside and kind
stuff, we overhear
we'll throw a signal
r guy and say watch
ople come, they've
w drinks, they don't
their voice carries I

not have noticed the horses missing
from the blue area on top.
"I've got bad news for you. Who-
ever sold you this gave you the
wrong seals. Have a good night."
The Brawn Jag: 22 attempted
Sandwiched between Charley's
and The Blue Leprechaun on South
University Avenue is another bar.
For someone new to Ann Arbor it
doesn't look that different, but the
crowd seated outside is a bit less
rowdy than the one down the street.
I had only been to The Brown Jug
twice before: once to pick up food
and another time to join a bar crawl
- I had to meet the rest of the group
at the next stop.
Daniel Martinez, one of the
bouncers at the Jug, only needs
a moment to*reject my ID: "This
is expired, do you have anything
Luckily, I'm armed with a good
excuse, though I doubt the actually-
igan-Daily routine will work more
than a few times.
This is the second place to refuse
my real-but-expired ID since I've
turned 21- the other was Bar Louie
on East Liberty Street.
Martinez is sitting with me at a
table by the door watching for any-
one who enters. It's early so there
is only one person assigned to the
door. It only takes him a couple
seconds to scan each card - a hair
less than most of the other bouncers
I've seen.
The process is crisp, clean, sys-
tematic - card, 2, 3, card, 2, 3.
He's looking at the ID, comparing
the photo to the person who handed
it to him, verifying the birth date
and expiration date, but he's doing ~
something else too. While he reads
the information his hand instinc-
tively pulls on the corners of the
card so the light catches the holo-
grams, and his finger swipes the
back of the card.
If the magnetic strip on the card
is real you can't feel a lip, but the
surface has more friction.
Martinez tells me that he turns
away about three IDs a week during
his three shifts at the door. I know
why my friends never text me "Jug
tonight?" And my friends aren't the
only ones.
The Jug is known for being a
minefield for fakes.
"We don't take (the ID) away
anymore. We give it back," Marti-
nez said. "People come and com-
plain about it."
Se e F KE" S a6BI

a1 - -ay cose to keept r

a n ony mo us duet o L eil le g a it
___._._. __. _._. _Since May 2008, a handful of Ann
activities the writer participated
Arbor restaurants and stores with
in and __ncludes _n the story--liquor licenses have been charged
with "sale to minor" by the Michi-
SU RVEY DATA: One hundred and six people (48 men and 58 women) were surveyed at Good Time Charley's, the Blue Leprechaun and a party during gano Liquor Control Commission.
Welcome Week about fake IDs. The results of this survey are included throughout the text of this article. However,none ofthese have been at
the more popular downtownbars, in
2 ome 7 woma ha"e usd a akewhich bar entry after 9 p.m. for any-

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