Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 11, 2013

Woman posed as friend to avoid ticket

She faces a criminal charge of obstructing by disguise

SUTTONS BAY — A Leelanau County woman faces a criminal charge after she posed as her friend during a traffic stop.

Shyla Rose Schocko, 20, is charged with a misdemeanor count of obstructing by disguise. She was arrested Jan. 3 and is out on bond, authorities said.

The charge stems from Schocko's actions on Dec. 6, Leelanau County Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said. A Leelanau County sheriff's deputy pulled her over for speeding in Suttons Bay.

Schocko claimed to be her friend, and told the deputy she didn't have her driver's license with her. She had enough of her friend's personal information — including a date of birth and driver's license information — that the deputy believed her and issued a traffic ticket in the friend's name, authorities said.

"Some friend, eh?" Hubbell said.

The vehicle she drove belonged to neither Schocko nor her friend, Hubbell said.

Authorities later received a tip that the ticket was issued to the wrong person. Hubbell, who described the case as "quasi-identity theft," said the situation gave authorities unnecessary headaches.

"It's not a case where somebody got hurt, but it's a lot of follow-up on behalf of the sheriff's department," he said.

Someone paid the ticket by mail not long after it was issued. Neither Hubbell nor court officials knew who paid the ticket, they said, though the ticket is in Schocko's friend's name.

Hubbell didn't know why Schocko, who declined to discuss the charge with a Record-Eagle reporter, was so eager to avoid a ticket that she'd pose as someone else. Leelanau County Undersheriff Steve Morgan said Schocko probably would have been better off accepting the ticket.

"The charge is much more serious (than) suffering the consequences of a traffic ticket," he said.

Hubbell said he'll likely contact the Michigan Secretary of State to make sure the ticket is properly applied to Schocko's driving record, not her friend's.

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