After theft, tech support call lands man in jail

A Missouri man is facing 10 years in prison for allegedly stealing a government printer. He was identified after calling tech support for printer drivers.

Here's a tip: if you steal a printer used to print driver's licenses, don't call the manufacturer asking for driver software.

It's a lesson that Timothy Scott Short learned all too well this month, when he got arrested after placing a couple of calls to Digimarc's tech support line.

Short, 33, is facing felony charges for possession of "document-making implements," in connection with the theft of a Digimarc printer used by the state of Missouri to manufacture driver's licenses.

The printer, along with a PC, were stolen on the evening of October 5 from the St. Charles contract office of the Missouri Department of Revenue, said Trish Vincent, director of the department. These offices are run by individuals who are subcontracted by the department to issue driver's licenses, Vincent said. The pilfered printer could be used to produce a license, Vincent said.

The PC, however, was locked with a key and because the key was stored in a secure location, the PC was unusable to the thief, said Vincent.

So what do you do when you have a stolen driver's license printer, but can't use the PC that goes with it? Enter Digimarc's tech support line.

According to a sworn statement by Secret Service Special Agent John Bush, someone who identified himself as "Scott" called Digimarc two days later and asked if he could buy printer drivers for the model of printer that had been swiped from the St. Charles office.

The Secret Service agent later listened to a recording of this call and recognized Short's voice from a prior investigation, Bush said. The caller also gave Digimarc the same phone number Short had used in an unrelated identity theft case, Bush said.

Short was charged on October 11, and is facing 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine, according to court filings.

"The stolen equipment contains the identifying information and photographs of between 200 to 500 Missouri residents," Bush said in the statement. "The only use of the equipment is the manufacture of state identification documents."

The state has sent notification letters to those affected by the theft, Vincent said. The computer contained name, address and date of birth data, but not Social Security numbers, she added.

Digimarc declined to explain how the Secret Service ended up listening to its customer support calls. "Because of a confidentiality agreement with our customer and because this is a criminal matter, we are not able to comment on the incident," wrote Digimarc spokeswoman Leslie Constans via e-mail.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?