The two men favor each other, slightly - same height, same color of hair. And they were friends in high school in Cross Plains, though they hadn’t “run” in the same circles for more than a decade.
Then, last March, when one got in trouble in Brownwood for having drug paraphernalia and possibly trespassing, he gave the Brownwood police officer arresting him his old friend’s name - and his birth date, which he happened to remember.
The case of identity theft came to light last week when Dustin Kent Bowden, 31, of Cross Plains, learned he wasn’t going to be able to renew his Texas Driver License because of outstanding warrants issued from the City of Brownwood Municipal Court.
Bowden hadn’t broken any laws that he was aware of, and he hadn’t been to Brownwood in at least two years, he told Brownwood City Marshal Dean Kilburn. The arrest warrants were for a possession of drug paraphernalia in March, and for failure to appear in court following the arrest. With Bowden’s insistence he wasn’t the man the warrants were for, Kilburn directed him to Brownwood City Police Department, where officer Trey Weathermon interviewed him.
As it happened, Weathermon remembered the March 5 incident in which he arrested a man who gave his name as Dustin Kent Bowden, and who also said his birthday was the same month, day and year as the Bowden he was interviewing. In a police report filed Friday, Weathermon said he compared the “mug shot” of the man he arrested, and the second man and though there was a slight resemblance, Weathermon wrote they were not the same man. Also, Weathermon reported, the man who claimed to be Bowden last March was visiting his mother’s apartment, and his mother’s last name was Bushnell.
Bowden told Weathermon that he had been friends with Daniel Bushnell in high school, and though they had not really been friends since, he’d heard Bushnell might be in Brownwood. Warrants were issued for Bushnell, and Weathermon reported they learned there were also warrants for him in Cross Plains. Bushnell was arrested and admitted to Weathermon in jail he had used Bowden’s name and birth date when they met previously.
Notarized statements were prepared to correct the identity switch. Bushnell was released from the Brown County Jail on $1,500 bond last Wednesday, the same day he was arrested.