Fake ID? Risk Losing Your License

Chicago's Paul Schniedermeir may have sold more than 7,000 fake IDs to teens.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If you're under 21 and have a fake ID, police in one northern suburb have a message: turn it in immediately or face arrest and loss of your driving privileges.

    The stern warning from the Wilmette Police Department comes after the arrest of 26-year-old Chicago man who police say sold hundreds of fake identification cards to teenagers.  One source put the number at more than 7,000.

    Officials said Friday that Paul Schniedermeir, arrested July 23, was creating the IDs for young adults in Chicago, Wilmette and other northern suburbs for about $100 apiece.

    A search of his Bucktown apartment building turned up computers, printers, scanners, methamphatime packaged for sale and a shotgun, police said.

    And while the fake ID business is anything but new, the number of IDs in the Schniedermeir case is especially alarming to those in Wilmette. Last month, two teens celebrating a birthday were killed when they car they were in struck a tree.  Officials said they were drunk.

    Bouncers at several area establishments said they were well-aware of the bust and said it's a reminder of the need for them to keep their eyes peeled.

    "Usually we pay very, very close attention.  The staff is very well-trained to take their times if they're not sure," said Remi Tancau, who works at Nick's Beergarden in Wicker Park.

    Still, according to a group of teens approached Friday night, getting their hands on a fake ID would hardly be a problem.

    "I've heard of people who have them around high school," said one 18-year-old woman.

    "I know some people that do it.  It's not really that expensive.  It's worth it, I guess, but not if you get caught," said another.

    Schniedermeir's arrest is the culmination of an investigation spanning more than two months, police said, adding that they believe hundreds of fake licenses have been sold from Schniedermeir's apartment for "a number of years."

    Evidence police said they obtained from the apartment indicates that Schniedermeir had produced and delivered 35 such licenses in the two weeks prior their search.

    Police want them.

    "If an individual is stopped with a fictitious driver’s license they risk arrest and a suspension of their Illinois driving privileges, said Det. Landon Girard.

    As of Friday morning, police said about 30 people have walked into the Wilmette police station and handed over their fake IDs.