ID THEFT: Suspect Confronted

A Des Moines woman had her identity stolen. But even though police know who the suspect is and where she lives, they’re powerless to make an arrest.

“It`s scary.  I didn`t think that I would ever have to be afraid.  I don`t really know what to do.” says Lauren Nystrom.

Nystrom had her purse stolen back in December.  Two months later, sheriff’s deputies in Iowa County say 24-year old Joanie Butler of Des Moines was in an accident, and gave them Nystrom’s license.  At the time, police didn’t realize they were duped.  Since then, the license has been used to cash several checks in Nystrom’s name, ruining her credit.

Iowa County Sheriff’s Deputies couldn’t find where Butler lived but we did.  And we confronted her.  “Were you in a car accident on Feburary 11th?” reporter Aaron Brilbeck asked Butler, “No, somebody stole my car that day but it wasn`t me.” she replied, but was not able to tell us where the car was, where it was found, or whether there was a police report.

Butler’s husband, who has an extensive criminal record that includes several counts of forgery and robbery, then asked us to leave.  “Are you an officer?” he asked  “You know what, she don`t wanna talk to you.’

Butler is charged with presenting a license known to be that of another, operating without a license, and driving without insurance.  Des Moines police say, even though they now know where Butler lives, they have no plans to arrest her because the crimes happened outside of their jurisdiction.


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