Police Arrest Seven in Fake Driver License Operation


Ames, Iowa (AP) -- Police have arrested seven people, including six Iowa State University students, for alleged involvement in a fake driver license operation.

The cards allegedly produced by Mallory Jenkins and her boyfriend Robert Frew were, by comparison, "average to below average," ISU police Capt. Gene Deisinger said.

A student tipped off ISU police to Jenkins and Frew, who allegedly stored digital cameras, computer scanners, software and two phony driver licenses with Jenkins' name and photograph in his apartment.

The couple allegedly used a computer template of a Minnesota driver license to manufacture fake cards, police said.

Jenkins, 19, of LeClaire and Frew, 24, allegedly recruited customers from her ISU dormitory and Best Buy, where Frew was an assistant manager. Police found digital signatures and photographs of five ISU students and another Best Buy employee on the computer. The couple allegedly charged $100 per license, although police don't believe money was exchanged.

Frew and Jenkins face up to seven years in prison if convicted of falsifying drivers licenses.

Also arrested were ISU sophomore Jennifer Avery of Moville, freshman Timothy Hucka of Norwalk, sophomore Nicholas Liker of Urbandale and freshman Andrew Pantano of Cedar Falls. Junior Katie Hutchison, 21, of Albert Lea, Minn., allegedly provided a Minnesota drivers license for the operation. Charges are pending against Todd Chamberlain, 20, a Best Buy employee.

The ISU arrests are the second significant fake license probe in as many years at the university. In 2002, an ISU student allegedly created fake Illinois licenses in his dormitory room and sold 200 of them.

Underage college students buy or borrow fake licenses to get into bars.

In 1995, Iowa switched to licenses with better lamination, bar codes, magnetic stripes and special print visible under ultraviolet light. Cards for drivers younger than 21 have a different format.

Some bar owners have armed themselves with expensive equipment to detect fakes. Ames police have coached bouncers to spot phonies.

"The manufactured ones stick out pretty easily if you're paying attention," said Mike Adams, manager of Welch Avenue Station in Ames.

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