, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 18, 2014

Newburyport police cracking down on 'novelty IDs"

Police confiscating several counterfeit licenses

NEWBURYPORT — As police continue their crackdown on under-aged drinking, a troubling trend has surfaced as two police departments have confiscated almost a dozen fake driver’s licenses over the last month — most of them with a Connecticut address.

Almost as disconcerting is that the licenses include well-duplicated security features that can fool scanning devices and other methods of detection, according to Newburyport police.

Newburyport police Lt. Richard Siemasko said the department has confiscated about eight fake Connecticut driver’s licenses and one from New Jersey. Many of them have been turned over to police by various pouring establishments.

In Salisbury, a fake Connecticut license was brought to the police station by an employee of Splash on Broadway about two weeks ago, according to Chief Thomas Fowler.

With summer season kicking into high gear the next few weeks, Newburyport police are advising all pouring establishments, restaurants and package stores to accept only a Massachusetts driver’s license, military identification or passport when checking for identification if they believe the person is close to 21 years of age.

Only those forms of identification protect those who sell and serve alcohol from liability. According to Massachusetts General Law, establishments that rely on those forms of identification, along with a liquor purchase identification card, have exercised sufficient care in not serving people less than 21 years old.

Newburyport police officers and detectives have received training on what to look for when it comes to sniffing out a fake license. Despite the best efforts of counterfeiters, there are ways unknown to the layperson to separate good licenses from bad ones, according to City Marshal Thomas Howard.

Police have theories as to why there seems to be a rash of fake Connecticut driver’s licenses — one being that those purchasing them are drawn to the state’s close proximity to Massachusetts. Another theory is that minors have been flocking to a website that features authentic-looking licenses for a reasonable price.

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