Crime Watch: Enforcing age restrictions at bars - WRBL

Crime Watch: Enforcing age restrictions at bars

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

As folks head out to celebrate the holiday weekend the men and women in blue will be making sure lawbreakers don't spoil your fun, and bars downtown are working with police to keep underage drinkers out of their establishments.

The owners of bars and clubs downtown work hard to run a tight ship, but sometimes someone breaks the rules. On Saturday a performer let a minor into Bootleggers and the bar's employees were put to the test.

Brandon Haynes owns a number of businesses on Broadway including Bootleggers. He says everyone working for him goes through rigorous training to check IDs. 

Haynes says the doormen perform, "Just a simple face recognition, and also they check for bubbly holograms, also have a special light that can help detect fake IDs, so we go above and beyond to make sure that the person who's stepping up to the doorstep is in fact that person to start off with and of the age of 21."

And police are on the lookout for minors as well. Downtown Patrol Officer Mike O'Keefe says, "Usually if they haven't made it into the bar, we try to send them home unless they're violating something else. If they do sneak in, it puts the owners of the businesses as well as the employees at risk for catching fines and also being arrested for allowing them inside."

Officer O'Keefe says they catch a couple of minors per weekend trying to sneak into bars. One Bootleggers doorman Saturday flagged a fake ID and sent a young girl on her way, but an hour later Haynes says, "The same bouncer that took her ID from her saw her walking through the bar, immediately jumped off the bouncer's stand and grabbed her and escorted her to the door. Police officers were at the door, part of the downtown beat, and she was handed over to them."

She and the singer who let her in the back door were given some shiny metal bracelets by authorities.

Over the weekend, police will not only be looking for underage drinkers, but also people engaged in bar fights and driving under the influence. O'Keefe says, "Most times they come out, some of these folks don't ever drink, so that little bit of alcohol changes their temperament and their attitude, and shortens their fuses."

If you're underage and trying to have fun this 4th of July weekend, adults say enjoy your childhood while you still can and don't spend the holiday behind bars.

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