UM student is accused of making phony IDs in his dormitory room

April 15, 1992|By Lou Ferrara | Lou Ferrara,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- University of Maryland police yesterday warned area bars and colleges to look out for fake New Jersey driver's licenses after a 20-year-old student was charged over the weekend with manufacturing the phony IDs in his dormitory room.

Bradley T. Yarnell of Cherry Hill, N.J., a sophomore computer science and mathematics major, was charged Saturday with the manufacturing and sale of fake identification. About 130 fake driver's licenses were confiscated in Mr. Yarnell's room, College Park Police Capt. Richard Doran said.

Mr. Yarnell, who transferred to Maryland from the University of Miami last fall, was arrested in his eighth-floor dormitory room. Police said they found materials that could be used to create the forgeries, including an Apple computer, a lamination machine, a Polaroid camera. Officers said they also confiscated an undetermined number of checks.

Acting on a tip, police knocked on Mr. Yarnell's door at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and he admitted them.

"I let them in because they were aware of what was going on in the room," he said.

Captain Doran said police found a large poster board, depicting a New Jersey driver's license, with a hole where the picture would normally be. Police said an underage drinker who wanted identification could hold the board in front of him, placing his head in the picture hole.

The picture would be taken, trimmed to the size of a regular license and finally laminated. Police said students were buying the fake identification for about $60.

Mr. Yarnell said the New Jersey license board had been passed from one university to another, "but this wasn't like a company or anything," Mr. Yarnell said. "It had been to a variety of places."

Captain Doran said he does not know how many fake New Jersey identifications may be in circulation. Maryland changed its driver's licensee design two years ago to make it more difficult to reproduce, the captain said.

A trial date has yet not been set. Mr. Yarnell was released from the Upper Marlboro Detention Center on $5,000 bond Sunday.

"As far as these charges go, well, I'm in trouble," Mr. Yarnell said, adding that the Secret Service has also contacted him about allegations of identification forgery.

Secret Service officials confirmed that they were investigating Mr. Yar nell's activities but refused to comment further.

The arrest prompted College Park police to notify area law enforcement organizations and bar owners.

"Fake IDs are a constant problem at every college campus," said Capt. M. Curtis Bosley, a University of Maryland Baltimore County police spokesman.

Captain Bosley said campus police already monitor the two bars on the UMBC campus, but will probably make an extra effort to look out for phony New Jersey licenses.

Spokesmen for American University and Georgetown University in Washington said similar steps would be taken.

Captain Doran said the forgeries are detectable if people pay attention to tiny details on the licenses. "They were good, though," he added.

John Brown, who owns R.J. Bentley's bar in College Park, said his employees inspect all identification cards that pass through his bar, but noted that it's difficult to detect all forgeries. Prince George's County police frequently monitor College Park bars for fake identifications.

"Word will get on the street that we're looking closely at New Jersey licenses, but then they will just get another license or borrow somebody else's to get in," Mr. Brown said. "The underground network here is tremendous."

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