WATERLOO, Iowa Iowa officials are awaiting a fingerprint check to confirm that a man being held in Waterloo is a fugitive of more than 40 years from North Carolina.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says the man was arrested after the Iowa Transportation Department's facial recognition system flagged his driver's license photo. Officers say they found information in his residence that identified him as 68-year-old Ronald Dwaine Carnes.
Records say Carnes was convicted of robbery in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area in November 1970 and sentenced to 20 years. He escaped the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Huntersville, N.C., in August 1973.
Authorities say the man they believe is Carnes moved to Waterloo from Washington state last summer. Authorities say he used the name Louie Vance to apply for an Iowa license in March.
Paul Steier, director of the Iowa DOT's Bureau of Investigation and Identity Protection, said authorities were led to Carnes by the same facial recognition software now used at driver's license stations.
"It's the same one in the kiosks that would tell you that your image matches the one that's on file," said Steier.
This biometric recognition technology stores every photo taken for ID cards and passports.
"Once it gets issued, those images are all templated, which means that the software takes the image, it finds where the eyes are, and then the software takes numerous measurements, based on the eyes to the cheek to the jaw to the ears to the nose, lips."
If a new photo gets matched to an existing template and any red flags go up, that's when investigators get involved. It's like piecing together a puzzle of someone's face.
"They look at the photos to determine, does it look like the same person or not?"
Steier said this technology has solved anywhere from 125 to 175 cases of identity fraud or theft every year since they started using it back in 2007. However, it mostly catches people trying to fake their age or hide a bad driving record - not typically fugitives on the run for decades.
"It's unusual in Iowa that we come across this level of a case, especially with age of the warrants being that far back."