ID Theft Prompts Police to Use Guns in Routine Traffic StopDecember 12, 2007
Failing to obey a stop sign recently thrust an Arkansas father into a situation one might more likely expect on an episode of COPS, or perhaps America’s Most Wanted.
When a routine check of Ramon Ignacio Linares’s driving record indicated he was on the run from U.S. marshals and considered armed and dangerous, Russellville Police Department officers ordered him from his vehicle at gunpoint, according to The Courier News.
Two of his children, ages 18 and 14, were in the car with him and witnessed the incident. Linares’s son told the officers that his father had been the victim of identity theft in California several years ago. The identity theft led to criminal charges being filed in Linares’s name, even though he had not been involved in any illegal activity.
To prove his claim, Linares was able to show police a “court-ordered warrant,” complete with a fingerprint card and a photograph of the man who is actually believed to have committed the crimes that continue to burden the real Linares.
Officer Michael Stevens, who wrote the police report, was on the ball and made note that Linares did not have a scar over his right eye, unlike the man who is actually wanted by authorities, who would have one, according a the police dispatch.
Linares was released shortly after officers learned he was in fact a victim, not a criminal. He was encouraged to visit Russellville’s driver control center to have the stolen identity recorded in the department’s Computer-Aided Dispatch system. He was not cited for failing to obey the stop sign.
Problems with law a side-effectAttention is most often paid to the financial costs of being the victim of identity theft, but Linares’s difficulties with the law are another unfortunate, and not necessarily uncommon, consequence of someone illegitimately using your personal information.
A recent Federal Trade Commission survey of identity theft in America found that fraudsters had victimized 8.3 million people in 2005. Of those, 5 percent ran into similar problems with the law, saying that their name and/or personal information was given to the police when a suspect was stopped or charged with a crime.
For more information:
FTC Finds 8.3 Million Identity Theft Victims in 2005
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