Marshfield teen learns 02127 isn't a Zip code in New York

When Det. William Gallagher of the BPD's licensed premises unit finds very young looking people drinking in a bar and they hand over licenses that seem to show they're over 21, he likes to ask them questions on the information on the cards. Such as what their Zip code is.

The trick came in handy on Nov. 8 at the Banshee on Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester, when a woman with a Bud Light gave him a New York license with a 1990 birth date, he told the Boston Licensing Board this morning. The woman correctly told him the birth date on the card, but when he asked for her home Zip code and she replied "02127," he told her the jig was up - since that's the Zip code for South Boston, roughly 120 miles from the nearest New York town.

Upon further investigation, it turned out she was 18 and from Marshfield, he said. Under questioning from the Banshee's attorney, Gallagher allowed as how the fake license was a good replica - right down to her photo.

The Banshee was one of several bars and restaurants that will find out Thursday whether the licensing board will suspend their licenses for letting young'uns get alcoholic drinks.

Venu, 100 Warrenton St. in the Theater District, had to explain how two underage Saudi students at Northeastern were served drinks on Nov. 9. Both had to be taken to local hospitals because it turned out they also downed white pills that made one "conscious but not responsive" and the other "act erraticaly."

Rumor, also 100 Warrenton St., finds out Thursday if it faces any sanctions for letting a guy who turned out to be an underage French student at Suffolk with a fake British license pour a vodka shot into the throat of another drinker - who actually was of legal age, on Nov. 20..

Applebee's, 381 Chestnut Hill Ave. in Brighton, was cited for a Nov. 24 incident in which three out-of-towners under 21 managed to get two Bud Lights and a margarita. A chain lawyer said the outlet has tightened up its restrictions on out-of-state licenses - to the point the chain is now getting complaints from people actually over 21 being denied drinks there.

All of the under-aged drinkers cited by police now face criminal charges in local district courts.



    Free tagging: 


    Kids now a days. When I was

    Kids now a days. When I was 19 pretending to be 21, I had a fake license but had the smarts to memorize everything on it! My friends laughed at me as I had them quiz me the social security number on the card, but lo and behold I was tagged in NH by some cops that suspected I was not 21. They did quiz me on all the information on the license, I passed with flying colors! They still didn't believe me. It ended by me running away to our rented cottage. One of the cops did try to chase me.

    The lesson is: if you're going to fake it, at least put some effort into it.


    There's always Montreal

    Seriously. The drinking age is 18. In other Canadian provinces, it is 18 or 19.

    If going out for a beer or drink is what you want in a college culture, Canada has plenty of colleges. Most are considerably cheaper to attend than BU - even for "full pay" US students.


    Signature on License

    If all else failed, I used to warn the person with the questionable ID that if they admitted they were underage, I would confiscate the license but wouldn't charge them but if they persisted and I determined they were underage, I would arrest them. I'd then tell them I was trained in handwriting analysis (bluff), hand them my police notebook and pen and ask them to sign their name as it appears on the license. In almost every case they'd take the first offer and forego the opportunity to sign "their" name. That said, I believe the law offers some protection to bar owners who reasonably rely on a license that appears to be authentic. If the NY license appeared real and actually had the Marshfield girl's picture on it, I'd say they have a good chance at beating the violation.

    Interesting last point there

    Apparently bar owners are offered some best-effort protection with Mass. licenses currently, but there's a bill in the legislature that would extend that to out-of-state licenses as well, at least according to one of the lawyers representing one of the bars before the board today.

    The Chinese, it seems, are getting very good at faking US driver's licenses and IDs - including the magnetic strips that for awhile would be detected by the more sophisticated ID scanners (which cost $3,000 to $5,000 apiece). Pennsylvania licenses, for some reason, are particularly easy to fake convincingly.

    Denied with passport

    The weekend I turned 29 I was denied a Bud bottle with my bar pie because I only had my passport. My purse was stolen that weekend and had to wait till Monday to get a new license. This place ONLY excepts MA licenses. It's not even a drinking bar.

    not even

    You can buy a color ID card printer pretty easily. The one my work uses looks like it could be used for fraudulent purposes pretty easily. A nicely photoshop'd scan of a real drivers license, some quick editing, and *poof* you have a fake ID. Not that I would ever do such a thing but it exists..

    fwiw, my fake license is from

    fwiw, my fake license is from days gone by. I went to the dmv with someone else's bank and ss card and got my picture with their information. That was after I had taken a razor blade and iron to mine (split the plastic, change the year dob, then reseal with iron.). What a move, now a days I wouldn't take a right on red unless it was allowed.

    I was one of those unfortunates that could drink at 18 but then lost it only a couple of months later when they upped the MA drinking age.


    A proper fake is very hard to

    A proper fake is very hard to cook up in your basement nowadays (even if you have one of the ID printers) due to the various security features, unlike 10-15 years ago when a computer savvy kid could make a very passable fake. However, nowadays they have fake ID factories in China that cater to American college kids (no joke) that you can order from on the internet, and some of them produce fakes good enough that no normal cop would be able to discern as fake. These factories are able to replicate the "advanced" security features on US IDs, and even mass produce copies of the custom holograms of various states. I find it somewhat ironic that the post 9/11 push for more secure IDs has led to good fakes being more accessible for the average person by driving out the traditional small local players and creating large offshore factories that can afford the expensive equipment to mass produce IDs with advanced security features.


    Marshfield? Saudi Arabia?

    All kids in Marshfield think they are from Boston because their parents are. That's probably how she knew the zip. And Saudi's in a club? Stunning. I wonder if it was the Persian or the Greek in the cub that ratted them out?

    One Question

    How much is all this nonsense costing the economy? Can't we just end prohibition and let the cops work on real crime? Let the bars serve food and drinks?

    How about we raise booze taxes to cover the damage from 18-21 year old drivers and institute strict programs and jail people for drunk driving?


    Ignoring the part about what

    Ignoring the part about what a huge waste of resources this is, for the people buying fake IDs, the bouncers who have to train on this sort of ridiculous detective work, and the cops who are working this detail instead of dealing with actual crime: there's plenty of talk about the sanctions the bars are facing, but no mention of any punishment for the 19-year-old kids passing fake IDs.

    Makes sense, I guess. Cops probably thought "they were drinking Bud Lite; that's punishment enough."

    Got quizzed on my MA ID at Yard House

    I have a perfectly valid Mass. license but was quizzed about it at Yard House in the Fenway. Completely threw me off. Thank God they asked about the address and not the zip - I've moved 4 times and changed jobs twice since I've lived here and I can't remember my current zip nevermind the one I had when I got the license.