Police still have questions in identity theft case
By Frank DeLoache
KANNAPOLIS — A moment of forgetfulness has cost a 50-year-old man his freedom and has police officers wondering if they know his real name.
Kannapolis police say a middle-aged man used a copy machine at an office supply store Thursday but left some papers in the copier when he left the store.
Employees found a picture of the man placed over another person’s picture on a Massachusetts driver’s license, according to Detective Sgt. Chris Nesbitt.
The employees called the Police Department, but they didn’t know the man’s name. Officers asked store officials to call if the man returned for his papers, and, sure enough, he did.
When officers arrived, the man cooperated with them, allowing them to search his car where they found a number of other documents and IDs, Nesbitt said Friday.
The man told officers his name was Joshua Eli Cinner, and he even had a birth certificate and other identifying documents with Cinner’s name on them.
But when officers searched computer records, they determined that Cinner is a white male, while their suspect was black, Nesbitt said.
They also didn’t know how the unidentified man had gotten the Massachusetts driver’s license of another man as well as financial cards and documents indicating he had visited or done business in at least three other states — Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey — and the District of Columbia.
Finally, an officer noticed among the man’s papers a money order made out to Don Steven Wright with a Massachusetts address.
The officers began calling law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts and tracing financial transactions on the IDs the man had. Finally, Nesbitt said, an officer in Amherst, Mass. — not the Massachusetts address on the money order — sent investigators a picture that matched their suspect.
And investigators have charged Wright, 50, 1694 Mission Oaks St., Kannapolis, with identity theft and manufacture or possession of counterfeit identification.
A magistrate set Wright’s bond at $100,000, partly because “we’re still not sure he’s who he says he is,” according to Police Capt. Wayne Adams.
Wright told officers he works in construction and has lived in Kannapolis about six months because he has relatives here.
But Nesbitt said last Friday that officers are still trying to confirm that information and reach all the people whose identification was found in Wright’s car.
Police officials in Massachusetts said they do not have any warrants against Wright, and Kannapolis officials have not found any other outstanding warrants against the other IDs Wright was carrying.
Patrol Officer Roberto Rodriguez is the lead investigator in the case, Nesbitt said.
“The only thing we can do is contact the additional names to see if they have been victims of residential or vehicle break-ins” and to review their financial records for any purchases or other transactions they didn’t make, Nesbitt said.
Anyone with information about Wright or the case should call Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers at 704-93CRIME (932-7463) or the Police Department at 704-920-4000.