Cops go undercover to bust underage drinkers at bars

Published: Jan. 28, 2013 at 9:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:24 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's not part of the college curriculum, but for many underage college students, it's an extra curricular activity.

They drink at bars in downtown Charleston.

This past weekend, undercover cops busted several students at bars, including O'Malley's Bar and Grille and La Hacienda restaurant on King Street.

We found the lists of arrests on the Charleston City Police department's Police to Citizen web page.

Bar owners are taking notice.

"As long as it's a forbidden fruit, it's gonna happen, so I think it's always gonna happen," said Kevin Young, a bartender at A.C.'s Bar and Grill on King Street.

A.C.'s is working with the College of Charleston to warn and convince underage college kids about the consequences of drinking.

A poster in the front window of the business warns about using fake i.d.'s, spells out fines and other potential problems for kids who drink.

Young said for some students, the poster makes them think twice.

"Deterrent, I think it does, I do. I think it does. I think people see it and view it as something okay."

Authorities say part of the problem is the phony i.d's are being made better than ever. Many of them are made in China and shipped to people in the United States.

They say it's very tough to distinguish a real i.d. from a fake one, unless the business has a special scanner.

We asked some college students what they think about the underage drinking enforcement.

"It's kind of just sick. They go out there in the bars. They use their fake i.d.'s and it's a heavy ticket too," said College of Charleston senior Trevor Provost.

"Nerve wracking," said freshman John Catalano, who admitted he once had a fake i.d.

A Charleston City Police undercover officer said one big concern he has about underage drinkers is that some get so impaired, they become victims of robberies and other crimes.

The offense of minor in possession of beer or alcohol carries a maximum fine of $262 dollars in Charleston Municipal Court. Violators also may have their drivers license suspended.

©2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.