Longview Man's I.D. Stolen By Houston Inmate

A 30-year-old, white man is in the Harris County Jail for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. He was booked in as Michael Goettle.

But the real Michael Goettle is a plumber in Longview.

If you put the two men side by side, one could pass for the other. They have similar facial features and hair, and they're even about the same height and weight.

Goettle didn't realize his identity had been stolen until last week, when he began receiving mail from lawyers wanting to represent him.

"My wife said, 'Did you get in trouble or something?' I was like, no," he said.

To clear his name, Goettle drove to Houston on Friday, with his Social Security card, drivers license, and birth certificate in tow. He came back with a file full of paperwork, including the mugshot of Billy Eugene Givens.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Department, Givens had stolen Goettle's I.D. card.

"I don't even understand where or when I would've lost it or he would've stole it or something," Goettle said.

Givens has a lengthy criminal record, including burglary and drug charges. He's also a convicted sex offender, who's allegedly failed to register.

"This is very bad," Goettle said. "I mean, I am extremely angry. I was real distraught, especially when it happened. Called my dad, just going crazy."

Just so there's no more confusion, the real Michael Goettle has a "not me letter," stating that he is not Billy Eugene Givens.

"I have to carry this around in my wallet, on my person, at all times, for the rest of my life," Goettle said.

He knows his stolen identity may come back to haunt him. He just hopes he can move on without any more trouble from the fake Michael Goettle.

Goettle is now going to check his credit report to make sure no other damage has been done.

So, how do you avoid your identity being robbed? The Better Business Bureau says you should safeguard your Social Security card, keep track of credit bills, and shred documents when necessary.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@kltv.com