Sep 222010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

Wilbur’s Total Beverage hates fakers. The liquor store has 52 employees, all of whom want to keep their jobs.

The store sells liquors, wines and spirits on South College Avenue and none of the superstore workers want to end up on the unemployment line for not confirming someone’s age.

“Everyone looks at it like a victimless crime, but they don’t look at the shop or who works at the shop,” said Dennis Dinmore, who owns Wilbur’s.

The liquor store has a strict policy on false IDs and employees attend training with Fort Collins Police Services to learn how to successfully spot a fake. They have seen thousands of attempts.

“We think we’re able to ascertain what are real and what aren’t real,” Dinmore said.

No one younger than 21 can step foot in the store without showing ID up front. Wilbur’s goes as far as using a machine to swipe all cards to see if it registers as real.

Dinmore said there is good reason to be cautious. Liquor stores risk losing their licenses and up to $15,000 in fines.

Restaurants and bars are required to train their employees on liquor safety. Washington’s Bar and Grill on Laporte Avenue hosts an 18-and-up night on Fridays, and takes extra precautions.

Up to 10 guards scan the area and employees check IDs at the door. All employees are certified through Training For Intervention Procedures, TIPS, which makes sure that employees do not serve underage customers.

“Sometimes when you call them out and say it is a fake ID, they usually just leave,” said Kyle Bray, manager of Washington’s.

All fake cards flashed at Washington’s are confiscated and then sent off to FCPS within 72 hours, but Dinmore’s employees hold the card and the person until police arrive to investigate the situation. Anyone who chooses to dispute the confiscation has the right to call FCPS and discuss the situation at the location where he or she tried to use the fake ID.

Jared Johnson, a 21-year-old construction management major, said it’s easier to get served alcohol with a fake ID than officials make it sound.

Johnson paid $120 to a man in California for his fake driver’s license. He sent in a passport-like photo and a list of basic information and said the license worked so well that it successfully scanned and had proper markings.

“If you ask two or three of your friends, chances are they’ll know someone who can get you a fake ID, I’d say,” Johnson said.

Soon, he and friends bar hopped like everyone else.

“It’s just one of those things where we just like parties and wanted to go out to the bars and wanted to see another side,” Johnson said.

The ID worked for a year until one night, when a bouncer at a bar in Colorado Springs caught one of Johnson’s friends trying to use a fake.

His friend pushed the bouncer in anger. Six other bouncers took him to the ground, which tossed his ID into the air.

Johnson snatched it off of the ground and tried to walk away. A bystander alerted the staff, and Johnson had to stay and wait for the police. Police took everyone’s ID and Johnson was faced with a Minor in Possession charge.

Johnson was caught later with two more IDs at a bar in Kansas while attending Kansas State University. He paid $500 in fines and never used one again.

Johnson says he still knows people younger than 21 who use fake cards and get away with it.

“When you have a college town with a student population with a large amount of bars and restaurants, there will be that likelihood of people using false identification,” said Lt. Scott Harris, of the CSU Police Department.

Harris said that any student caught with a fake ID will usually end up with a misdemeanor charge, and the use of someone else’s identity is considered a felony.

“They’re fun until you get caught,” Johnson said.

Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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