A routine traffic stop in south Wichita uncovered evidence of a significant identity theft operation, police said Thursday.
A Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputy found a half-dozen fake IDs and numerous stolen checkbooks after he stopped a car at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday for a traffic violation in the 4200 block of South Hydraulic, Lt. Clark Wiemeyer said.
The 35-year-old driver turned out to be wanted on an outstanding warrant, so he was arrested. When the deputy found the IDs, he contacted Wichita police to let them know of the discovery.
“It’s a sign of a times,” said Wiemeyer, head of the financial crimes unit.
Thieves are stealing checkbooks or other forms of identification, he said, then making fake IDs so they can use the stolen checks. Investigators found paper for making fraudulent checks when they went to the homes of the driver and a second person implicated by Wednesday’s traffic stop.
“With printers and computers, people can do that — start scanning stuff in, put your driver’s license in there and you become whoever you want to be,” Wiemeyer said.
This operation differs from many other recent finds in that the suspects were going to extra lengths to make their IDs look authentic, he said. They were also printing fake checks.
No arrests have been made in the case at this point, Lt. Doug Nolte said.
“We’re still digging into it,” Wiemeyer said.
Nolte praised the sheriff’s deputy for discovering the suspicious materials and knowing what to do once he realized what they were.