Computer theft victim turns into ID theft suspect

August 19, 2010 4:59:58 AM PDT
A suspected ID thief is in jail, thanks to his own thoughtlessness. He accidently turned himself in to police. William Ferguson, the identity theft suspect, is being held without bond at the Houston Police Department jail in downtown Houston. Police say one of his alleged victims is from Midland, TX, and the other is from Houston.

Detectives say Ferguson made his arrest easy for them. He took a bus to HPD's central command on Wednesday afternoon, but left in handcuffs.

It was an arrest so simple, it's surprising to even one undercover officer.

"I would think he had to know," the undercover officer said.

She tells us they found Ferguson's laptop during an auto theft bust last winter, and along with it, several fake IDs with his picture on them. Ferguson was cleared in that old case, but on Tuesday, he called for his computer back.

When he tried to claim it, it was like a classic interrogation gotcha moment right off TV.

"We brought in all the fictitious IDs with his picture on it, and when he saw those, he originally said he didn't know anything about them, and then he stated that he just wanted to go home with his computer," the detective said.

Instead, he went to jail and was charged with two counts of forging a government document. Police believe he combined other people's information with his picture.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Solving the cases is usually tedious, and suspects don't often walk right into the police station.

"I don't know what his plan was or why he thought he could get by with just picking up his computer and going on about his way, but that was his plan," the detective said.

Hopefully his bus fare was one way.

Detectives say he's forged a Texas ID and a Louisiana ID and used them to rent cars and apartments worth thousands of dollars.

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