Raleigh, N.C. — Last year, almost a third of the 500 people state Alcohol Law Enforcement agents charged with trying to buy alcohol with fake identification were in the Triangle.
ALE officials said fake IDs, such as one used to buy liquor for a January underage drinking party attended by Wakefield High School students, are a constant problem.
Four Wakefield High students were charged Friday with underage drinking and a fifth was charged with using someone else's ID to purchase alcohol for the party. Sadiki Young, an 18-year-old Wakefield student, was killed in a wreck after leaving the party.
"I've heard of people making (fake IDs) on their computer in their dorm rooms," said Meghan Packer, a broadcasting major at Elon University who did a report on fake IDs. "They just didn't really seem too worried, and that's what surprised me was this fearless attitude they had about using them."
"My student who have been exploring this issue tell me that fake IDs -- a good fake ID -- can be obtained for about $75," said Richard Landesberg, a communications professor at Elon.
Trying to buy alcohol with a fake ID is a misdemeanor, while anyone caught making fake IDs faces a felony charge.
ALE agent Bill Berryhill said improved technology makes it easier to produce fake IDs and harder to spot them.
"What they'll do is laminate everything over the driver's license," Berryhill said. "You (can) peel the lamination back and see where they have erased the original birthdate and typed a new birthdate over the lamination."
Waiter Dave Deem said he prides himself on being able to spot a phony ID from someone ordering a beer or a drink in his bar.
"I do take a little bit of pleasure in it," Deem said, noting he has snagged 40 fakes since October. "You have to know what to look for."