Bars in South Orange have their own methods of ensuring that their customers are of legal drinking age, especially college students.
A Livescience study done in 2013 revealed that 1,000 surveyed U.S. students used fake IDs about 25 percent of the time they drank alcohol before they turned 21 years old.
Mario LaVecchia, Above Restaurant and Bar general manager, said he catches people trying to come in to Above with Fake IDs “all the time.”
“We have a company called Mass Security. It’s not Above (security), it’s a subcontract that we hire. Five security guys every Thursday night,” LaVecchia said. “Basically when customers come in, we scan them (ID), we ask for double ID and then we turn them away if they’re fake IDs and we keep them.”
LaVecchia pulled out a stack of collected fake IDs in an interview with The Setonian to show that even though some of the IDs scan, there are certain aspects of the IDs that do not match real ones. For example, the “Class: D” on a New Jersey license is on the top of a hologram, but on a New Jersey fake ID it is printed closer to the bottom of the hologram.
“We have two scanners,” LaVecchia said. “Everybody that comes in this building goes through these scanners. It’s not something where you go to a party and get off easy. You can risk somebody’s liquor license.”
Leslie Pogany, owner of Bunny’s Sports Bar, suggested that out of state customers should get county ID cards because they are more reliable.
Debbie Walsh, Bunny’s employee, explained the bar’s method of checking cards with a light.
“If you shine the light through the back of it (the license), New Jersey comes up yellow. Some that turn blue, some that turn purple, some with state emblems. New York has a little cut out where it’s clear plastic with your picture in black,” Walsh said.
Pogany added, “I pretty much proof anybody I think looks young. If I’m in doubt, I don’t take it. You’re talking about a liquor license.”
Sofia Aksabanovic, a Ricalton’s Village Tavern manager, said its bar The Snug does not have many underage customers trying to purchase alcohol with fake IDs.
“So far we have not. Fridays and Saturdays in The Snug we have a machine that tells us if it’s fake or not, and we ask for an ID if the person looks under 35,” Aksabanovic said. “There’s nothing we can do about it other than take it away and escort them out.”
Susie Rosa, a freshman criminal justice major, said she does not have a fake ID.
“Because of my major I don’t want a charge like identity fraud to negatively affect my future,” Rosa said.
Another Seton Hall student who wished to remain anonymous said he does have a fake ID that he ordered online.
“I use it so I can buy alcoholic beverages even though I’m underage. Yes, I am scared of the consequences. I don’t want to go to jail or pay any fines,” he said.
Alexandra Gale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org