March 10, 2014

Underage-drinking prevention and enforcement a joint effort

PLATTSBURGH — In the 40 years that Liquor and Wine Warehouse owner Steve Carpenter has been in the business, he’s seen countless fake IDs come across the sales counter.

Each time a cashier spots a fake ID at his store, State Police are called.

“We’ve called them four or five times on a Friday night.”

It’s been a continuous problem, said Carpenter, who has owned Liquor and Wine Warehouse in Plattsburgh for 34 years and is vice president of the New York State Liquor and Wine Association.

Many of the underage people who try to buy alcohol with fake identification either don’t understand the consequences or simply don’t care, he said.

Carpenter’s clerks use a special scanner that can detect false IDs 90 percent of the time.

But the fakes keep getting better and better, he said.

“Our scanner does well, but what’s the next level?”

His employees are sometimes hesitant to work the register for fear that they could fall victim to a police sting operation, he said.


Manufacturing fake IDs is a lucrative business, with the fakes selling for as much as $100, $200 or $300 a pop, said Sgt. Frank Mercier of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, who also is coordinator of the Clinton County STOP-DWI program.

He said a coworker’s child was quickly approached about getting false identification once she arrived at Siena College in Loudonville near Albany last fall.

“Within a couple hours (of settling in), she was asked if she needed a fake ID.”

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie recently approved two TV public-service announcements about the legal pitfalls of fake IDs.

The spots were made by SUNY Plattsburgh students Alex Backstrom, Ryan Stillwaggon, Mario Froscone, Brian Caputo and Matt Robert. They will be aired on the college’s TV station, and the local STOP-DWI Board is exploring other venues for the videos.

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