ID theft victim ‘tickled’ by arrest

Smith said he was afraid to leave the house
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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A Florida man feels like he can finally get his identity back after years of trying to prove he wasn’t a wanted felon on parole. Larry Smith said he was “tickled to death” to hear news Tuesday that 56-year-old Auburn transient Joseph Kidd was behind bars. The Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that they arrested Kidd after discovering he had used the Florida resident’s name, birth date and Social Security number to apply for welfare, medical assistance and for his California parolee ID card for the past 17 years. “It’s about time,” Smith said, laughing. The 67-year-old said he was surprised and relieved to hear that someone had sorted out a problem that sent him to jail for eights days, delayed his income tax return for years and almost suspended his driver’s license. “It’s unbelievable,” Smith said from his Florida home Wednesday. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t know it was 17 years. The first I knew about it was in 2003 when my income tax check was taken.” Smith said he has no idea how Kidd acquired his birth certificate and Social Security number. He said he spoke with Kidd’s wife over the phone Tuesday evening and she said she had it at her Arkansas home where she is currently staying. Kidd’s wife was reportedly just as stunned to hear the news, according to Placer County Sheriff’s detective Jim Hudson. Kidd had also used Smith’s identity to officially marry his wife in Placer County years ago, Hudson said. Hudson said his wife is now working to have the marriage dissolved. Smith has dealt with law enforcement officials for years regarding Kidd’s criminal activities. In 2006 he was stopped on a traffic violation in Orlando. Instead of getting a ticket, Smith was arrested and taken to jail. “My wife was on the phone constantly,” Smith said. “She finally faxed paycheck stubs. I was working. I couldn’t be in two places at the same time.” Smith said he carries an identity theft number in his wallet at all times to avoid any future arrests. He said he got a phone call from a Placer County deputy district attorney after hearing news of Kidd’s arrest telling him they were working to clear warrants in his name in Florida. “I feel pretty good about it now,” Smith said. “I can breathe a little bit. I was afraid to go downtown and leave the house.” Smith said he is thankful for help from county employee Susan Hasick, Sacramento Police Detective Janine LeRose and Hudson. “It’s amazing,” Smith said. “He came into the picture (Tuesday) morning and bang! Three hours later it was over and it was done.” Reach Jenifer Gee at