As Craig Eney prepared to leave the Acme Bar and Grill on Main Street in Annapolis on June 16, his drinking buddies and a couple of guys who played lacrosse with him in high school said they thought he was too drunk to ride the bike.
But that didn’t stop Kelcey Silva, 19, who police say didn’t even know Eney. She was sitting on the back of the powerful blue Yamaha sport bike when police caught up with it a few minutes later.
The shoe box that arrived in the mail from China contained a cheap pair of shoes.
“We thought the Chinese guy had ripped us off,” said the 19-year-old who shared shots with Eney the night he died.
Until then, the transaction had gone smoothly. She made first contact through an e-mail address supplied by the acquaintance. A prompt e-mail reply laid out the deal.
“It was $300 if you just wanted one” license, she said. “It was $200 [each] for two and $75 [each] if you wanted more than 20.”
Photos, names, signatures and physical descriptions were e-mailed to the address. Money was collected from friends, many of them former classmates at the Severn School, from which Eney also had graduated, and wired to an address in China specified in the e-mail.
“You can pick from a list of about 10 states,” she said. “I heard that the Pennsylvania license was the best one.”
The shoe box with postmarks from China arrived in a matter of days. After initial consternation, she flipped over one of the shoes and ripped open the sole. Out tumbled 22 brand-new, visually perfect driver’s licenses.
“And my friend’s license came in this,” she said recently, flipping to a picture on her iPhone. It showed a necklace box with a sparkling brooch.
This spring, federal authorities in Chicago intercepted thousands of fake licenses hidden in jewelry boxes and the soles of shoes shipped from China. Most of them appeared to be addressed to college students.
Border Patrol officials, who made the seizure in Chicago, are cracking down on phony licenses, but the IDs usually come disguised in individually addressed packages, making the task difficult.
The underage drinkers who spend so many summer nights in Annapolis bars that they can recite the weekly specials say they are careful to use a designated driver. And Eney’s friends say that there was designated driver the night he died but that Eney wanted one last night out on his motorcycle before he put it up for sale on Craigslist the next day.
He pulled a buddy out of the first bar the friends visited to have a last look at the machine.