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

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?