Baffling Identity Theft Leads to Arrest

Dennis Faas's picture

Techie criminals aren't just concerned with pilfering your personal details or uploading incessant spyware ads. They're also regular, dumb thieves who, like the average Quickie-Mart robber, make some incredibly bold and ridiculous decisions.

It's hard not to be floored by the story of Timothy Scott Short, whose brain is clearly not working up-to-size.

On the night of October 5, the St. Charles contract office, a division of the Missouri Department of Revenue, experienced a break-in. A thief made off with both a PC and a printer, which together could be used to produce fake driver licenses. (Source:

However, the Missouri Department of Revenue must have realized the potential in such a heist. At all times it kept the PC locked with a special key that was, as usual, secured on the night of October 5.  Ultimately, it left the thief with no way to actually access his brand new computer or its printer.

Enter Short.

Clearly angered that his new PC wouldn't work, the thief put in a call to Digimarc, makers of the printer, hoping to acquire drivers that might provide him entry into the PC. According to the Secret Service, someone by the name of "Scott" made the call, just two days after the printer was reported stolen.

Unfortunately, "Scott" was hardly enough to launch a successful investigation. However, in another startling turn of events, the caller was identified by a Secret Service agent who recognized the voice from a previous case. "Scott" also provided Digimarc with the same phone number used by one Timothy Scott Short in a completely unrelated case of identity theft. (Source:

Short was soon after arrested and charged, less than one week after the break-in. He now faces a decade behind bars, as well as a $250,000 in fines. The Secret Service is obviously taking the case very seriously, especially given Short's repeat offences.

And so, there you have it; perhaps the most surprising (and completely baffling) case of tech-based identity theft thus far.

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