Special software used by the Iowa Department of Transportation led to the arrest of a man who escaped from prison in North Carolina in 1973 and had been living in Waterloo. Sixty-nine-year-old Ronald Carnes is charged with aggravated identity theft, possession of a firearm by a felon and being a fugitive from justice.
Carnes allegedly used the identities of two people who died in the 1940’s to collect Social Security benefits and apply for Iowa driver’s licenses. DOT director of Investigations and Identity theft, Paul Steier says the department’s facial recognition software went into action when Carnes applied for the licenses. “It’s comparing template records that we have on file that are based on results that we obtained from images,” Steier explains.
The software caught something when Carnes applied for a second license. “It matched against a photograph of a license that was taken last year,” Steier says. “From there we had to figure out who this person may really be, and the information that was given us — was it valid information.”
He says they then started a detailed investigation to determine if this was a case of stolen identity. “We go back to the source where the information that was given to us, via the Social Security Administration or via another agency, and validate this information,” Steier says. The investigators found two birth certificates in Carnes’ home and help them find out his real identity.
Carnes was convicted of robbery with firearms in North Carolina in November 1970. He allegedly escaped from prison on or about August 4, 1973. He is being held without bond until a preliminary hearing on July 9th.