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String of fake ID's prompts warning from Woodbury liquor store

Mark O'Boyle, head of the wine department at Top Ten Liquor, said he hopes the prospect of jail time and a $1,000 fine stears minors away from purchasing fake ID cards after the store confiscated four within one week. Maureen McMullen / RiverTown Multimedia

A fake ID can be hard to spot.

Sophisticated systems used to produce fraudulent identification cards can recreate the black bar on the backs of cards that cashiers typically scan to verify someone's age before ringing up booze or cigarettes.

But a second bar on the back made up of nearly microscopic text appears blotchy on fakes.

This subtle gaff is usually what alerts employees at Top Ten Liquors in Woodbury of a fake ID.

"We have a magnifying glass we can spot them with," said Mark O'Boyle, head of the store's wine department. "The fake ones they can't duplicate that little line."

O'Boyle said his staff confiscated four fake ID cards earlier this month from people he believes to be minors. He reported the incidents in two police reports the first week of August.

Each of the cards appeared to be Illinois drivers' licenses and listed the cardholders' real names, which matched those on their debit cards.

Although the cases remain under investigation by Woodbury police, O'Boyle said Top Ten plans to seek charges.

"I don't think these kids understand the ramifications that are involved with this," he said. "We do want to press charges. We don't want this happening. That's the only way to remedy this situation. We don't want anything to happen to them, and we don't want to jeopardize our business."

In Minnesota, charges for using a counterfeit ID card to purchase alcohol could land someone a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Woodbury police spokeswoman Michelle Okada said no other Woodbury businesses have reported fake ID cards.

"Don't have a college in town, we don't have a big nightlife scene so it's not something we come across all that often," she said.

Counterfeit cards are typically purchased online. A Google search of "fake ID" turns up a handful of websites on the first page that advertise customized fake IDs. Prices range from about $80 to $100 per card.

O'Boyle said he hopes the store can prevent tragedies by confiscating fake cards and reporting them to the police.

"These kids are obviously 19, 20 years old if not younger, and we just don't' want to see them get into an accident," he said. "We of course don't want to be selling to underage people, anyways. We've never failed a sting, and we pride ourselves on our ability to manage this."

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