Deputies: Man stole county workers' IDs

HOUSTON - A Houston man has been arrested and accused of stealing the personal information of nearly two dozen people.

Benjamin Barran, 39, is facing a felony charge, accused of possessing personal information that belonged to 23 victims. Investigators say some of the victims include employees of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

"They found a lot of identifying information of various people. They contacted those people and those people confirmed that there's no reason that that person should have their information.," said Assistant District Attorney Ed McClees.

Investigators have not said how Barran got the Harris County employees' information.

"It's an ongoing investigation. We're still trying to figure some of that out ourselves," said McClees.

Court records show at the time of the alleged crime, Baran was out on bond facing similar charges.

According to court records, the investigation first began in July of last year when Barran's ex-wife contacted police about a break-in at her home. She believed Barran was responsible and said a credit card had been stolen. The investigation that followed led to the first charge of credit card abuse.

In September, Barran was charged with fraud and tampering with a government record after allegedly being discovered in a hotel room that contained items used to make fake IDs.

Prosecutors say an online Dropbox account held some key evidence behind the latest charges.

According to prosecutors a search warrant showed the online storage service held victims' Social Security numbers, birthdays, and driver's license numbers, as well as instructions on how to make fake IDs.

If convicted, Barran faces five to 99 years in prison. He is being held without bond.

Barran is expected to appear in front of a judge later this week.

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