Winter brings Vail bars fake IDs |

Winter brings Vail bars fake IDs

J.K. Perry
Preston Utley/Vail DailyHundreds of fake IDs end up at the Vail Police Station, where they are disposed of at the end of the year.

VAIL – Present a fake ID to the doormen at the Taproom in Vail, and you risk walking away without a cold one, your pride or faulty papers.”Mostly it’s the new kids coming into town – the new locals,” said Terry Mercer, head of security for Taproom. “We do get some tourists.”Mercer and others said the increase in winter season business brings an onslaught of people using other people’s identification or presenting fake IDs.

“In relation to business, it’s pretty constant year-round,” said Jim Glendining, owner of The George. “It’s a numerical increase because we’re busier than we are in the summer time.”On average, four to five IDs are pulled a week at the bar during the winter, or 200 per year, Glendining said. The IDs are then handed over to police for destruction.”Some IDs are excellent … others are pathetic,” Vail Sgt. Kurt Mulson said.During 2005, the Vail Police Department alphabetized hundreds of drivers licenses, passports and other shoddy identification which will be incinerated at year’s end. Once the IDs come through the department’s doors, they’re gone for good, Mulson said.A liquor license allows bars to confiscate any ID that is fake or appears to be fake.Glendining offers his doormen $20 gift certificates for each fake ID pulled. In recent years, the fake IDs have gotten better.”You really gotta make the best effort you can,” Glendining said.

The bar keeps a sample of real and fake IDs around for doormen to learn from. Telltale signs of a fake include IDs that crack when bent, eye color or height that doesn’t match or a nervous person shuffling. But oftentimes, it comes down to the feel of the ID.”Some doormen have a real knack for it,” Glendining said.Mercer said he trains his employees well. The bar gives employees $10 for each fake ID they confiscate. Still, some underage people get by, Mercer said.There are some high-tech tactics doormen use to combat the IDs.If a person looks young, doormen at the Taproom will hold an ID under an ultraviolet blacklight to determine its authenticity. Many drivers licenses have a design which glows under the light, Mercer said. “A lot of people see (the blacklight) and don’t even come in,” Mercer said.If a person insists the ID is real after a bouncer determines it is fake, doormen tell them to call the police.

“If they call us we’ll come down there, but 99 percent of the time it’s for a fake ID,” Mulson said. “We’ll say ‘You gave it a nice try … there’s Bridge Street.’ A few boneheads swear it’s good.”Officers give said bonehead a chance to walk away before radioing in to determine the ID’s authenticity. The officer will arrest the person if they continue to insist the identification is real, Mulson said.”Some people try to talk themselves into an arrest,” Mulson said.Arrest means up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or Vail, Colorado

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