Bismarck, Mandan bars recover fake IDs with new scanners

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 12:48 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Students are back in town meaning local establishments are on the lookout for more fake IDs. In an effort to prevent underage drinking and promote safety, Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and the Bismarck Police Department have employed a fake ID pilot program.

Shiloh Bennett, general manager at the Drink at Lakewood, is in a back room at the bar. For the past month and a half, she’s been running IDs through a specialized fake ID scanner.

“We’ve been able to catch out of state IDs we wouldn’t have caught normally. We’ve gotten a California one, we’ve gotten a few Texas ones. These are all ones we wouldn’t have normally caught without the scanner,” said Shiloh Bennett, general manager at the Drink at Lakewood.

At the Bismarck Police Department, officer Caitlin Horne shows how the machines work, each checking 40 to 50 different reference points as opposed to the typical method of scanning the back barcodes.

“These [fake] IDs are so good, the naked eye is not going to see it,” said Caitlin Horne, community engagement officer for Bismarck Police Department.

While other methods to check IDs can work.

“Texturally you can feel. We have had Montana IDs where the edges were thin,” said Bennett.

Police and bar staff say the scanners are much more efficient.

“It definitely is creating an atmosphere of consistency,” said Drink at Lakewood general manager Shiloh Bennett.

If a fake is found, the ID will be turned over to the police department, who alerts area colleges.

“It’s not a problem necessarily that we want it to become a criminal problem. It’s that we just want to educate these kids. We don’t want to ruin their lives. We don’t want to end up having them get kicked off a sports team or lose a scholarship. But again, if they aren’t making the best choices, this is going to help them,” said Horne.

Five area bars, The Drink at Lakewood, Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse, Sidelines Sports Bar, Sports Page, and The Elbow Room, participate in the program.

Bar staff at the Drink at Lakewood said they recovered 12 fake IDs last month. From August 2021 to 2022 Bismarck Police said they’ve recovered 170 fake IDs through the program.

A Public Health grant of $62,500 from the state funded the program so businesses can rent the scanners for free.

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