In fact, right after that woman had fled Kohl's that second time, the loss prevention officer searched the web for the name she provided. He'd found Karen's old traffic mugshot online and showed it to Kohl's employees. When an officer later showed that photo along with others in a lineup, one employee picked Karen out as the thief. That's right, this thief had, by sheer coincidence, randomly picked a name that was A) the name of an actual person B) who actually lived in the area, C) had a record, and D) looked vaguely like her. It was, like for Andy Dufresne in Shawshank, a decidedly inconvenient coincidence.
On the other hand, the other employee the officer showed the photos to picked out someone besides Karen as the culprit. But one witness was enough to give the officer evidence to ask for a warrant. It also turned out that Kohl's employees had seen the thief's vehicle and noted its number. The police did not use this lead, or maybe Kohl's got the number down wrong. What they did do was put out a warrant and arrest Karen, who did not have a silver Ford SUV, let alone one that matched the tag numbers the employee saw.
The lawyer spent some of those months contacting individual people from Karen's workplace and scheduling depositions so they could say under oath that she was at work when the crimes happened. Yeah, an alibi is a useful thing, but getting it down into some form that sways the authorities takes a long time, and the burden for putting that together falls on you. Once they filed all that, the state's attorney had to drop the charges. There was no trial. "I just got a call from my lawyer's office," she says, "saying, 'Congrats, the charges are dropped. You can come by and pick up the paperwork.'"
She asked her lawyer, and other lawyers, if she could sue for damages, but they said it wasn't worth trying. She had no way of proving bad intent from either the police department or Kohl's. "Three years later," she says, "I'm still trying to get my life back on track." And nope, the real thief was never caught. If you ever run into her, kick her ass for Karen, will you?
Uh, on second thought, don't do that. You might get the wrong woman.
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For more, check out The 8 Creepiest Cases Of Identity Theft Of All Time and 5 Seemingly Innocent Ways You Risk Your Identity Every Day.
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