Sometimes a local newspaper article may make a small crime appear larger than it really is. This is often because the article's primary source is a law enforcement officer, a detective or a press release from the police department. That may be the case with an instance of alleged identity theft that took place in Oregon recently, leading to the arrest of a Wisconsin man.
Police arrested a Milwaukee man on Sept. 24 after he allegedly tried to buy a vehicle in Medford, Oregon with a fake Social Security number, name and address. He has been charged with attempted aggravated theft and identity theft. Without providing any details, the article describes the man as a registered sex offender from Wisconsin, even though it does not appear to bear any relation to the current incident.
According to authorities, the man had previously gone to real estate agencies, saying he had inherited a lot of money and wanted to buy an expensive home. He also supposedly went to jewelry stores and asked them to put pieces of jewelry on hold. A police official admitted neither of these actions are criminal and said he believes the Wisconsin man "likes to portray himself as having lots of money and just goes out and gets these things." The 44-year-old man is being held in jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.
Fortunately, it is up to a court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, rather than the police or a local newspaper. Nonetheless, the man may benefit from consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attempted aggravated theft and identity theft are serious charges that mandate a meaningful and aggressive defense. The attorney may assist in ensuring the individual is tried only for actual accusations of criminal conduct and not prejudicial and hearsay statements.
Source: Mail Tribune, "Sex offender arrested after theft attempt," Ryan Pfeil, Sept. 26, 2011