Cops And Civilians Share Their Wildest Stories Of Mistaken Identity

May 6, 2019 | Dylan Fleury

Cops And Civilians Share Their Wildest Stories Of Mistaken Identity

Being a police officer is no easy gig. That seems pretty simple to understand...until you’re pulled over and arrested for something you didn’t do. Some of the people below were able to find the humor in the police mistaking them for someone who just robbed a bank, while others hold a grudge over the cop who jumped the gun and arrested them before being fully positive they were the culprit. At the end of the day, it's always an awkward situation for everyone involved—but at least we get to see the humor in it!

1. So That’s What That Feels Like

I’ve got two from 25 years ago when I was a cop, one from one side of the badge and one from the other. The first, I got assigned a warrant service to pick up a wanted felon. Mr. Robertson was 6 feet tall, 114 kg (250 lbs), long red hair, bushy red beard, and lived at, let’s say, 123 Elm St. Pretty distinctive dude.

So I roll up to 123 Elm Street, and sure enough, there mowing his lawn in the front yard is the man himself, 6 feet, 114 kg (250 lbs), red hair, red beard. I make contact with him, “Hey, Mr. Robertson? You got warrants and it’s time to go to jail.” Hook him up, take him to jail, and in central booking, I get his property off him and while filling out the inventory happen to notice this guy is Mr. Robinson, not Robertson.

Sure enough, the wanted guy was my guy’s landlord, and his twin-brother-from-another-mother doppelgänger. When I’d said Robertson, Robinson didn’t even twig to the fact I hadn’t said his name, he just heard the similar sounding name as his own. We had to walk the whole thing back and reactivate the warrant, then kick him loose with a handshake and an apology.

The one from the other side, I had just gotten off duty at 2 AM and was driving home still in uniform. There wasn’t any other traffic on the road, so I wasn’t really surprised when a police car turned in behind me and started following me. I figured he was trolling for drunks and I was the only thing moving on the road, so he was just going to follow me a little to observe my driving, and he’d realize pretty quick I was sober and peel off.

Instead, another patrol car joined him. And another. And another. Then all four lit me up, and spread out behind me, blocking the road in a full felony stop. Well, this just got interesting. They went through the whole procedure, and I carefully followed their instructions. When they finally got me out and saw my uniform, they just stopped for a few seconds while I was trying to figure out just what the heck was going on. Then three of the officers got in their cars, turned off their lights, and took off, while the original officer told me I could put my hands down and explained what was going on.

My car was a spot on match for the suspect vehicle in an armed robbery and shooting that had just occurred right up the road. I’d driven right by the scene before the cops even got there, a few minutes before the officer in the next district spotted me and thought I was the suspect. It was an interesting night.

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2. One Is Worse Than the Other

Two of my colleagues—murder squad detectives—attended custody to meet a defendant answering bail. When they arrived at the custody desk there were a couple of people hanging around, waiting for their solicitors. They told the custody Sergeant they were there for [insert name] and he pointed one of the guys out. They went up and introduced themselves and said they would be questioning him at another station. So all three got in the car and headed off.

Whilst driving, they told the defendant what would be happening—on arrival he would be arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, questioned, and either bailed or remanded. The guy was like "you've got to be joking, attempted murder? I was shoplifting!" He was relatively calm, half laughing and shaking his head. A short time later one of the officers got a call from the custody Sergeant—their actual bail appointment had arrived. There were two defendants with the same name answering bail that day.

They apologized to the non-murderous shoplifter, turned the car around and headed back to bring the right person in for questioning. Keystone cops to the max.

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3. World’s Youngest Criminal

There had been a string of robberies—seven in two weeks—in my neighborhood, so everyone was on high alert. I was home by myself, and one of my dogs started puking, so I rushed to let him outside, forgetting my dad had set the alarm. We had a silent alarm, so I had no clue it had been tripped, sending out a dispatch request to the local 5-0.

Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I'm young, home alone by myself, and had been told to never answer the door if I was alone. So I didn't. They kept knocking. Long story short, they broke the door down and they thought they had caught the burglars. Multiple cars, I vaguely remember there being a K-9 unit involved, and the police had their suspect—a nine-year-old girl, crying her eyes out.

I was not the group of thieves, who ended up being caught about a week later.

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4. Read Between the Names

Not a cop but the "wrong person" in question. There is another man two years younger than me who shares my first and last name with the exact same spelling. The only difference is the middle name. Police were investigating a county trustee who was giving people housing assistance checks they didn't qualify for. They would cash the assistance and give the trustee a percentage back.

One of the civilians being investigated was the other guy. A plainclothes cop in an unmarked car shows up with a female holding a clipboard, identifies himself as a state trooper, and within five minutes is asking me for copies of my bank records. He's threatening to subpoena if I don't comply. This isn't the first time I've been mistaken for him—I used to get his mail all the time—and I even asked if they were looking for me or the other guy, pointing out our different middle names.

I got really suspicious really fast as this was a high-pressure situation, demanding access to my financial records, threats of subpoenas and further legal action, so I started to doubt this was an actual police officer and was in fact just a scammer. The badge he showed me was just a plastic square like my driver's license, further muddying the issue.

I told him I wanted to speak with the police and he called dispatch. Two uniformed officers showed up fifteen minutes later and confirmed the guy was an officer. The woman with him was some kind of auditor and records keeper. After a further 15 minutes of questions, the woman pulled the guy away and pointed out something on her phone.

Yep, they wanted the other guy.

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5. Hot Head

I live in a small town in rural England, and we used to get some trainees/new police officers from the Met there for their training. Some of my friends and I were teenagers and we were walking to the supermarket, because what else is there to do in a small town pre-internet? Suddenly, from out of nowhere, this police car comes screaming, sirens going and screeches to a halt in front of us.

A young guy, must have only been about five years or so older than us, jumps out and starts giving us the whole hairdryer treatment. He lines us up and starts taking our statements of what we had been up to in the last hour and gloating at us, "You lads are in trouble now, criminal damage, trespass, theft. You have really screwed up!"

With him was the local bobby and he came up to each of us in turn after the younger guy had grilled us and said very jovially, "Now don't worry lads, I'm sure it's a misunderstanding, we've had some reports of a break in. You don't match the preliminary description, and I'm sure we'll get this cleared up when we get the more detailed description."

So the more detailed description comes through the radio and the young guy is wearing the biggest grin you've ever seen. The description didn't even remotely match, and honestly the young guy looked so disappointed we all ended up feeling sorry for him. So yeah, that was probably quite embarrassing for him.

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6. There’s Two of Them

Many years ago I attended a report of domestic violence, my crewmate and me went into a house and the victim said the offender boyfriend had beaten her up—she had visible injuries—and gone upstairs to sleep. She confirmed his name—I'll say Fred because I can't remember his real name—and that he was still upstairs. So, straight upstairs I went and in the first room I checked there was a sleeping male.

He was handcuffed immediately which obviously woke him up, confirmed he was called Fred and dragged him downstairs. Fred was pleading ignorance and innocence—don't they all—and was almost in the police van until the victim came running up. She'd forgot to mention her boyfriend's best friend also called Fred was also asleep upstairs and we had the wrong guy.

Apologies were given and we went back into the house to find the other Fred still asleep in another room. This one confessed immediately so we were happy we got the right one.

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7. 50 Shades of Green

Very quick and basic one. Recently, I ran the full length of a market square and arrested a guy in a dark green full tracksuit before realizing the perp was across the road in a light green tracksuit laughing so hard he couldn’t run away. Got the right guy in the end but that was a lot of cakes to pay and apologies to the innocent dude doing his shopping.

Screw basic descriptions.

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8. Someone Needs New Glasses

I travel frequently across the Canada/US border, sometimes by bus. On one bus trip, the whole bus was held up by one woman who was pulled back to be interrogated. An hour later, she gets back on the bus, announcing that there was a person on the most wanted list with her same name. HOWEVER that person was a 5’4” white male, and she was a relatively tall, probably 5’10” black woman.

It took them an hour of interrogating her to realize they had the wrong person.

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9. Just Got Off Work

Well, like many other posts I’m not a police officer, but I did get felony stopped while on Las Vegas Boulevard. I left work, pulled out of the parking garage and turned right on Tropicana. I then see lights behind me and start to pull over, thinking it was an emergency vehicle. Police then surround me with guns drawn. This was like midnight on the strip so it was intense. Police make me get out and walk backward with my hands on my head. They cuff me and tear into my car almost immediately.

Long story short it was another mustang with out of state tags involved in a robbery. That was an intense evening.

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10. Jumped the Gun

While on an operation, we had a driver of a vehicle meet a boat on a river where there was an exchange. Eventually, the driver gets spooked and takes off at high speed. We had aerial surveillance so we followed at a distance. The driver takes us out to rural farming country. Eventually, the driver pulls into a driveway, jumps out of his car, throws something in the woods and then continues to flee on foot. So our team moves in to catch the driver.

The aerial surveillance is calling out the location of the driver who is now running in the woods. So, my partner and I are driving along one of the parallel roads to where the driver is running. It's pitch black out and we are looking in the woods when we happen upon a guy on the edge of the woods. Bingo, we got our guy.

We shine or lights on the guy. He freezes like a deer in the headlights. We arrest him by bringing him down to the ground and handcuffing him. I go to the radio to say we got him when I hear the aerial surveillance still giving the play by play of someone still running. So we ask the guy who are you and why are you in the woods in the middle of the night.

He says I'm a farmer and I just finished plowing the fields and now walking home. My partner and I are like, ooh shoot we are so sorry. We uncuffed him and apologized. We explain the situation. He was totally cool about it. We gave him a ride home. He could hear what was happening on the radio and thought it was pretty cool.

He thanked us for making his night exciting.

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11. Didn’t Run a Background Check

A few years ago, my husband and I were having a lazy Sunday morning, making pancakes, blasting music, and having a good time. There's a really loud banging on the door and I rush over to answer it, thinking someone must have knocked a couple times before we heard it, and open it up to four police officers who push into our kitchen.

Two of them grab my husband and start telling him that he's being placed under arrest for a hit and run accident that took place in a city almost two hours away. Freaking out, my husband explains to the police that he was at work all night, and just got home about an hour before that. He must have been really convincing, because two officers sat at our kitchen table with us, while the other two went outside to call my husband's workplace to confirm his story.

Turns out, a car that we had sold about a year before was involved in an accident that hit three parked cars and a woman the night prior—woman only had minor injuries, thankfully—but the driver was nowhere to be found. There was a clear video of our old car smashing into parked cars, hitting a pedestrian, and a man jumping out of it shortly afterward. When the police found the abandoned car and ran the VIN, it led them to our house.

In Ontario, when you sell a vehicle you're supposed to bring a slip into the Service Ontario center to prove that the ownership has transferred. But, it's not really enforced, and there's no penalty for not doing it because the person purchasing the vehicle needs to do the same to get plates, stickers, insurance etc. Obviously, and stupidly, we did not do this.

Cops came back in, apologized for the mistake, gave us a halfhearted lecture about properly switching ownerships, and left. The jerk who was actually driving the car was caught the next day. An officer called my husband to tell him, and made a joke about us having to pay any impound fees.

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12. I'd Like a Yellow Boat Please, With Extra Motors

Not a police officer, but I’m in a class called wildlife law enforcement, which is taught by a game warden. They have police powers and can be called in if backup is needed. My teacher is a great dude and he loves stories. Anyways, my local police force has a way of capturing people with outstanding warrants that may or may not be common.

What they do is send a letter to the perp saying they “won a prize” from the city. Apparently, how they deliver this makes it seem very legit. To receive your prize, you have to go to the community center at a certain date and time, then the police get you after you sign up for your prize. So, in my city, they set this up and sent a letter to a particular man with a very recognizable name.

The day of the “prize claiming” this very large old man comes in and is soon fighting against three officers in this community center. He fought pretty damn hard thinking he was being jumped, but of course got cuffed and stuffed in the back of a squad car. The issue? They didn’t check the important detail of AGE. They captured senior when junior was the one with the warrant.

They assumed because of this man’s very recognizable name that there could only be one.

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13. Next Door Over

I remember when my son was three weeks old. It's 3 am, I’m lying down on the couch and baby is in his rocker. Suddenly, there is loud knocking on my door followed by "police." I thought for sure it was my friends coming back from the bar and needing a place to crash, as they have done that police knock to me before. So, I’m sitting there mad thinking, “Don’t they know I just had a kid?”

Needless to say, I didn’t answer the door. Figured they could find somewhere else to crash. Next thing I know, my door is kicked down, I grab the baby and run towards the door and four or five police officers run in. They search my house with flashlights and scared the crap out of my sleeping husband. My five-year-old didn’t wake up though.

Turns out they had the wrong address. They apologized and a week later they installed a new door for me. But holy hell that was scary.

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14. Is That a 3 or an 8?

Not a police officer, but one night around 8 pm my fiancé received a call…

Officer: "Derek, we have your health card. Tell us your whereabouts right now." Fiancé: "This isn't Derek..." O: "You sound like Derek. Your buddies ratted you out and gave us your number. Now where are you?" F: "I'm not Derek and I'm not telling you where I am. Who are you?" O: "This is Officer Smith. Stop messing around and tell us your location, Derek." F: "Again, Derek is not my name. How do I know you’re a real officer?" O: "Boy, if you don't tell me where you are, you're going to be in much more trouble. My badge number is blank." F: "OK fine, I'm at home at blank. If you don't show up in a police car, I'm not coming out."

He hung up the phone, dialed 911 cause we live in a bad area and wasn't sure if this was a fake call or not. Operator verifies that it was a correct badge number. The officer called back. He apparently misdialed by one number. He apologized, but still blamed my fiancé because he was "being very defensive and sounded guilty."

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15. Made Things Worse

This story is more humorous than serious. I used to be a police dispatcher, and part of my duties involved monitoring the audio and video in the holding cells. One night, an officer approached a 22-year-old for public intoxication and discovered that he had a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket. The officer arrests the kid, who somehow ended up in the holding cell with his cellphone.

I tuned into the cell's audio and heard him frantically explaining to the person on the other end of his phone call that he had given the cop his older brother's ID. Turns out, the kid that was arrested was underage. He attempted to use his older brother's ID to avoid getting in trouble, but it just so happened his older brother had a warrant.

I don't remember what ended up happening after that, but I like to imagine how awkward that next family dinner was.

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16. Three Is Plenty

One day I was on my way home and I noticed a police helicopter flying overhead. I lived in a big city at the time so I thought nothing of it until I was blocked in by two police officers. Someone in an SUV very similar to mine had been trying to lure children at a school nearby, and was considered a dangerous offender due to previous convictions.

They thought they had their guy, but all they had that day was a very pregnant and bewildered white girl in an SUV with her ice cream. The one officer came to my window with his hand on his gun and asked me if I knew anything about someone luring children in my Jeep that day and I looked at him in bewilderment—I have a panic disorder, hopefully that explains my reaction—and blurted out, “I have two under five and one right here, what the heck do I want someone else’s for?!”

Luckily they let me go after telling me what to keep an eye out for. I can laugh about it now.

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17. You’re Not My Son

I was sitting in my apartment and my girlfriend was in the shower. I heard knocking on the door and ignored it. I heard a knock again, looked out the window, nothing. Then came the cop knock. So I get up and open the door. Two cops with guns drawn were hiding behind the doorframe and asked me to put my hands up. I comply. They ask, "Are you here with your girlfriend?" I am super confused but I say yes, because I am.

They storm in and cuff me. About this time, the girlfriend comes out of the shower, sees me handcuffed and is understandably pissed. The whole time I am asking what is going on and saying I think there has been a mistake. Then the cop points out the door to an old guy and asks, "Is this not your dad?" It wasn't and I said, "No, what is going on?"

The cops look at the old guy and he stumbles saying, "Uhhh no. No, that is not my son." The cops turned white. They were super embarrassed and they left quickly. A couple hours later, one of the cops comes back and apologizes. Apparently, that old dude got a phone call from his estranged son saying he had a gun and was going to shoot his girlfriend. I don't know what came of that but it wasn't me and that dad apparently didn't even know where his son lived.

Crazy day. Then I went and got some tacos and a margarita.

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18. So Much for Netflix and Chill

I was in high school and my three best friends and me were having a sleepover at one of their homes. We wanted to watch Netflix on the TV but did not have an HDMI cord. My friend’s dad said he’d drive us to Walmart to get a cord, but her older sister said she would instead—kind of an important detail. Anyways, we make a turn out of my friend’s neighborhood on to the main road and we hear sirens behind us, so my friend’s sister pulls over.

When the sirens did not pass us we realized that we were being pulled over for some unknown reason. By the time we realized, the police officer was already at our window. He had a really powerful voice and he yelled at my friend’s sister to “ROLL THE WINDOW DOWN. NOW.” By this point, we are shaking and freaking out. As soon as she rolls the window down the police officer shines his flashlight at all of us.

He sees five terrified teenage girls. Immediately, he backs off. He asks for friend’s sister’s license. She hands it to him and I just remember how much she was shaking. Police officer asks, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Friend’s sister says, “No sir. I honestly have no idea why.” Police officer says, “Well it’s because of the way you came out of that neighborhood.”

Friend’s sister says, “Okay.” Police officer asks, “Are these your sisters?” I think he’s backpedaling at this point because we are all clearly not sisters. He continues, "Well your car matched the description of another car so yes. Here is your license. Have a good night." After we started driving again my friend’s sister goes, "I’m so glad my dad didn’t end up driving you!!"

And I honestly think about what might have happened if he was the one who drove us.

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19. We Got a Runner!

Not a cop but got confused for a wanted guy. I transferred at the main railway station of my city from the train to the bus. The moment I see the overview-board I start to run to catch my bus home. What I didn't know was two undercover cops were tailing me because they were looking for somebody who kind of looked like me. When I broke into a run they thought I made them and tried to run.

Long story short, they tackled me from the back totally off guard and, thinking I'm being mugged, I cursed and tried to fight back. Of course, they got me under control after a few moments. After they found out I wasn't the one they were looking for they apologized kind of awkwardly and were gone.

And I missed my bus.

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20. Game Night Gone Wrong

I was in the wrong car several years ago. Driving home from a friend's house late one night, my friend and I got pulled over by a narc. Apparently, some giant drug bust went down and one of the meth cooks fled in the same model vehicle. We found this out because the local sheriff was called for backup to watch us while the narcs searched the car.

The sheriff thought it was funny because my friend and I had been out playing board games, so the trunk was full of game boxes that the narcs wanted to search through. It took something like 45 minutes before the narcs accepted that the boxes of Settlers of Catan and Axis & Allies were not secretly full of meth. Fortunately, after the narcs gave up, the sheriff helped us reload the trunk while the narcs went off to search for their suspect again.

Extra nice thing is that we were definitely speeding but didn't get a ticket because the narcs had bigger fish and the sheriff didn't care enough to follow up on the speeding.

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21. Living the Lifestyle

Not a police officer, but I have a story of mistaken identity that happened to my brother. He rode Harleys for 20 years. He was into the Harley lifestyle—clothes, bike vacations to Sturgis and bike week etc.—but he was in no way a "biker." He had a custom license plate on his bike that was very desirable for Harley owners all over North America.

I don't want to say what it was but the letters HD were part of it. One day, he gets a knock on his door. It was a detective that wanted to speak to him about "something." My brother invited him in and the detective started asking him a bunch of questions about his friends, who he spends time with and where he was on a certain night a few weeks earlier.

Tells him there was a double murder and the suspect was riding a Harley Davidson with his license plate and had a similar physical description—big guy, leather jacket, black leather boots, and beard. They suspected it was gang-related—Hells Angels were moving into this area at the time. After talking to my brother he told him that he didn't think they had the right guy.

He had no criminal record and no affiliation with anyone in a gang, plus they were following him everywhere for a week! Turns out the guy they were looking for had the same type of Harley, same license plate, but from a different state or province, and looked like him. Needless to say, he changed his license plate the next day.

Mistaken Identity FactsPicryl

22. It’s All Your Fault

Get a call of a person with a gun. The description is pretty good, male, black with a red and black Bulls starter jacket—the winter ones from the mid-90s is what he had if you can picture it. Some assisting units spot a guy with an old-school late 80s fleece Bulls jacket. They approach him, tell him why they’re stopping him and the guy is super cool and goes, “It’s just for protection guys.” Sure enough, they pull out a .357 snub nose revolver. Boom. Cuffs on, no FOID card, no CCL, so to jail they go, easy enough.

Then another officer calls out a foot chase. “Male, black, bulls jacket, running northbound...” You could probably imagine the puzzled look on the officer’s faces heading into the station. After a brief chase, offender number two is taken into custody and pistol recovered. The second guy was the original guy that was called on.

So offender number one, who matched the description to a tee, was simply in the wrong place, wrong time. The best part is that both were thrown into the big holding area, and after a brief conversation of why each was there, offender number one finds out that offender number two is why he got stopped in the first place and proceeds to start throwing haymakers in the holding cell.

Can’t make this stuff up.

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23. Saturday Morning Smackdown

I'm a lawyer for the police. I defended an officer who was chasing a bad guy and lost him in the courtyard of an apartment complex and then ran into the back of the wrong apartment and tackled and tased an old man watching Saturday morning cartoons in his underwear while eating fruit loops. He got tased because he was fighting back, as any sane person would do after being tackled by a stranger while watching TV and eating cereal.

The city paid that man some money.

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24. I Thought I Was the Only One

Not a law enforcement officer but I’ve witnessed something like this. My roommate about 10 years ago had a pretty common name with the exception that it was one letter different and pronounced differently. Fake name, but let’s call him Wason while the norm is Jason. Wason has a pretty common last name, too. Let’s say Smith.

He was pulled over for having a tail light out. They look at his ID, and—according to the officers—ran his name and didn’t check anything else. The elder officer stayed near his car while the younger one did the check. Comes back and asks him to get out of the car. Wason says “sure, but why?” Big mistake. Guns drawn, everyone out of the car, on the ground, and they’re searching the car.

They pat him down and call for backup. After what seemed like forever, they come back and apologize. Apparently, there’s another Wason Smith in the area on the run. He lets us go. We look up his name, and it’s true. It was in the local news like a month before this happened. Wason Smith was wanted for beating his wife half to death, and was known to carry lots of weapons in the car, hence the car search.

A one in a million name, and there’s two that lived within 48 km (30 mi) of each other.

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25. From Beyond the Grave

I work as a dispatcher at my local Sheriff's office. Two days ago, one of our deputies was attempting to serve a protective order on someone. After they got on the scene, they asked me to run someone’s license plate. This happens quite often, as it is a way to see if who they are looking for is at the place they are looking at.

So I run the plate and it comes back to an individual who happened to have a warrant for reckless driving in the next state over. So I key up on the radio and say, "Radio to 124, 10-86, 10-12?" Basically, a call out meaning, hey something popped up on that plate, are you okay and alone? He confirms he is good to receive the information, and after I tell him he says he is with the individual.

Then he asked me to send a hit to the state the warrant is from, which is how we confirm warrants from out of county are valid. Before I get a chance to, he asks me to confirm the date of birth on the subject. Turns out that the subject was a junior, and the car was still registered to his late father who had passed away two years ago.

I check the operator’s license attached to the license plate and sure enough, the guy was reported deceased. I was so caught up on the warrant hit that I missed that, and apparently the county the warrant was out of messed up on their validations to make sure they needed to keep the warrant active.

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26. You Talkin’ to Me?

Not a police officer, but one time I was walking out of Walmart with some groceries. As I was on my way to my car, a police helicopter was circling around the parking lot. Over the helicopter's PA system they described me and told me to get on the ground. “You in the grey shirt, bald head, in the Walmart parking lot, next to the green car, get down on the ground.”

Everyone in the parking lot was just staring at me. I didn't listen because I just kept thinking I didn't do anything wrong, they have to be talking to someone else. As I am putting the groceries in my car I see six or seven police cruisers coming my way thru the parking lot with sirens on. At this point, I am just standing there like a deer in headlights.

The police officers surrounded me and draw their guns, shouting at me to get on the ground. I comply. They pat me down and ask what I was doing at “so and so apartment complex.” I say I was never there, and they check my ID. Right after looking at my ID I noticed all the officers were kind of confused and weren't really acting all hard up to me anymore.

Then this older guy who looked like a higher ranking officer walks up to me and says, “You are free to go 40ozfreed, sorry for the misunderstanding.” I asked what was all this about? He says, “Well for lack of a better phrase WHOOPSIE.” Then he shook my hand and gave me a hug. We both laughed it off. As I was driving out of the parking lot, all the same police officers and many more had another man arrested on the hood of a police cruiser.

He had a bald head like me, grey shirt, and green car. Everything identical.

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27. Unlucky Guess

Traffic stop. Guy gave his name and had no ID on him. We ran it and it came back as wanted for failure to appear at court. We arrested him. Turns out he lied about his name and unfortunately guessed the name of a wanted person. Turns out he was just uninsured on that vehicle.

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28. Should’ve Dug Deeper

I woke up on my day off work at 6 am to police banging on my door. I am arrested, thrown in a police car and hauled to the station. After fingerprinting, mug shots, and everything, I’m finally told why I was arrested. A detective comes in, straight off TV. I’m handcuffed to a bench and he starts telling me everything I had done. Paying cell phone and utility bills for my other homes out of my neighbors checking accounts. I’ve lived in the same house for 10 plus years. No other houses.

I asked the detective if he had bothered to do any detecting before filing felony mail fraud charges against me and asked if the other officer remembered being at my home no less than two weeks ago taking a report of stolen mail and checks. The other cop definitely remembered as soon as he saw me. I have never had a speeding ticket much less anything more serious.

They got super apologetic and put me back in the cell for the rest of the day until they got the charges dismissed. Someone had stolen my identity and opened accounts in my name then paid for those accounts with stolen info from other people. I spent a day in jail while they straightened it all out. Not as bad as some of the stories, but always fun to tell about the time I did hard time.

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29. Turn up the Volume

So last month we received information that a person driving a certain car with a certain license plate was transporting a lot of drugs and money through our city on a weekly basis. In reality, it’s very difficult to find these people as they use multiple routes and our cameras don’t cover every road in and out. However, as luck would have it, my colleague and I spot a vehicle, same description and same license plate speeding along.

We turn on the lights—he doesn’t stop. Horns blaring, again, he doesn’t stop. So, we get authorized to begin a pursuit. Soon, two, three, four, five cars begin to join until there are around seven of us. This guy is sitting at around 96 km/h (60 mph) in a 50 km/h (30 mph) and we’re fairly convinced that we may get this prolific drug dealer.

Well, that was until he made a hard left into a housing estate and parked up. We weren’t sure whether to approach or wait for a specialist team to come down in case of weapons. Before we could do anything, an 85-year-old man gets out of the car and says he’s sorry for speeding. Turns out he didn’t actually hear our sirens, didn’t see us in the rearview mirror and when he did see the sirens he didn’t think they were for him.

To make matters worse, his license plate was off from the suspect's by one letter.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

30. Valid Excuse

I went to jail once, but that's a story for another post. Anyways, while I was in holding there was a guy about my age—25—in a really nice suit. He keeps pacing back and forth and asking the guards what time it is while everyone else just calmly sits around. I ask the guy next to me what his problem is and he tells me they arrested this guy thinking he was someone else.

Turns out this guy's dad, who has the same name, has multiple warrants out and his son was flying to New York for a job interview. He ended up missing his interview because of this. He keeps yelling at the guards to check the date of birth because they are about 30 years different. Imagine telling your would be boss that you missed the interview because you were arrested.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

31. From Father to Son

I once went to a guy’s house to arrest him on a warrant for missing court for a speeding ticket. I knock on the door and ask the guy who answers if he is “Bob Smith”—can’t remember the real name but he spoke broken English—and the guy says yes. I ask him if he got a speeding ticket that he never took care of and he says yes, so I tell him he is under arrest and take him to jail.

At the jail, I discover that this “Bob Smith” is about 30 years older than the one on the warrant and I forgot to check the date of birth before arresting him. I was looking for his kid “Bob Smith Jr.” Turned out that the kid was on his way to post bond for the dad so I let the dad go free and arrested the kid when he got to the jail to pick his dad up.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

32. New Tenants

A few years back, my girlfriend at the time—she’s my wife now—just got a new apartment and we moved in together. About a week after we moved in, I was in the shower. The door gets kicked in and I get dragged out of the shower. Butt naked and soaking wet. My girlfriend is on the couch, handcuffed. They start asking me about some Spanish named guy Roberto something.

There were more cops in our apartment than I'd seen anywhere before, like two to three dozen cops in our apartment and you could see a bunch of other cops, through the windows, walking around outside. I have no idea what this Roberto guy did but I’ve never seen such a show of force before. The whole thing ended with the head officer yelling at the rookie who was supposed to verify the address.

I guess it was the right address, but Roberto had moved out the month before.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

33. One of Them Is Guilty

There was a call that went out in South Central LA for an assault with a deadly weapon. The description was a Hispanic male, shaved head, extra large white t-shirt with tan shorts and long white socks. Of course, this is LA, where there is a large Hispanic population, and that's the style. Literally 15 people were stopped and detained for that EXACT description in the immediate area, all Hispanic males, all with a shaved head, all with a baggy white t-shirt, all with tan shorts, and all with long white socks.

I guess it's not a “we got the wrong person” but rather “we got 14 maybe 15 of the wrong people,” but there you go.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

34. Inside Job

I took a report for ID theft/larceny at a Chase Bank. A guy had funds withdrawn from his account without authorization. Keep in mind that my complainant does not have a common name, for example, “Tom Smith.” About a week or so later I am called back to the same bank, as the caller stated that the subject who has been doing fraudulent transactions is currently in the bank.

I’m less than a minute away when the call comes over and they are stalling the guy in one of the offices saying there is a problem with his account. I get there, they point him out, I move in, quickly cuff him up and explain that he’s not under arrest, just being detained for an investigation. I find his ID and it has the same name as my complainant from last week. I think oh wow, this is legit, fake ID and all. I think back to my original complainant and the address and dates of birth don’t match.

Long story short, Chase has been doing transactions for one guy on the other's bank account.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

35. Time for a Name Change

My wife was the wrong person. We were making the ferry crossing from Belfast to Liverpool, having just picked up my—new to me at the time—TVR T350. We were first off the ferry and noticed a large police presence with a roadblock. We got pulled over and held for about an hour. It seems my wife shares a name with an internationally wanted criminal.

Surprisingly, we have never had the same issue again, nor does a search of her name reveal any insight into who it may have been.

Fire Me, I Dare You factsGetty Images

36. Plot Twist

I served a subpoena to a guy who witnessed an attempted murder. I went to the door and the guy told me his name, which matched the name on the subpoena. I explained everything to him. He was just nodding his head and eventually he was like, “Yeah I think you’re thinking of the other guy who lived on this road, he’s dead though.”

He was, in fact, dead. Guy had the same name and lived a few houses down.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

37. Check the Footage

We had a large number of burglaries in a single night after a recent snowfall. Almost 20 houses in a neighborhood had been burgled. We were tracking footprints in the snow, finding more and more houses, which kept adding to our number of victims. Eventually, the footprints came to rest at a residence in town occupied by one of our known offenders.

By the time I arrived, officers had gotten everyone out of the house, detained them, and were working on a search warrant for the residence while other officers were processing the various crime scenes. Mind you, all occupants had declined to speak with us. During the time the search warrant was still being worked on, at one of the scenes a receipt from Walmart was found which wasn’t the victim’s, and had to belong to our suspect based on the time stamp on the receipt.

An officer took the receipt to Walmart and found the surveillance of the person who had made the purchase. Turned out to be somebody completely different. The residents of that home were sent back home with an apology.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

38. We Worked Together

Got pulled over a block from a local McDonald’s. Officer explains he got a report that the manager at McDonald’s reported that a guy about my description tried to grab the cash drawer from a register when she opened it to make change for him. When she resisted he fled in a yellow Ford LTD. I happened to be driving a Ford LTD.

I told him I wasn’t the guy. I asked if the name of the manager who reported it was Tina. Yep. Well, then she would have told you my name when reporting the attempted robbery if I was the culprit. I had been working there as a manager for about two years and she would definitely have recognized me. He agreed that I was unlikely to be the culprit. I immediately drove over to find out what happened from Tina.

Evidently, she went agro when the guy tried to grab the drawer and just grabbed both his hands and dug her nails into the top of his hands. It was all the guy could do to tear himself away and flee. Tina may have weighed 45 kg (100 lbs) wet.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

39. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I was dating this girl and when things didn't work out, she got vindictive. She had a copy of my car insurance and got a guy friend to pose as me to call the police and report my vehicle stolen. I go be-bopping out of work one glorious Friday afternoon and get felony stopped by about 10 Dallas, TX PD officers. Guns drawn on me and everything, right outside of the large office complex I worked at.

Turns out the people who reported my car stolen used their own phone number when filing the report and eventually got caught and charged.

Moment That Killed Their Relationship FactsPexels

40. Bad Timing

I was 16 and worked at a golf course mowing lawns and such. We got a call at home from the cops that said I'm a suspect in a hit and run accident because my plate numbers were on the car that drove away without stopping. The cops said the car was maroon colored—my car was gray. We told them and figured that was that.

The next day at work there was a minor accident. A stupid coworker pulled a metal rake too hard and the rack holding it came down onto my forehead. It wasn't a deep wound, but it bled A LOT. My boss took me to the ER to get my head super glued, and to be safe, took me home too. Thus my car stayed at the golf course.

That evening a cop comes by and finds me with a head wound and my car is missing. I look quite guilty. By sheer luck, the cop calls someone after talking to my parents and discovers they got the guy and the plate numbers were close. I probably would've been arrested.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

41. Remember That Time…

Someone had stolen a car and I went to go check it out. I'm driving behind what I think is the car. It had the same color and was the same car and the mistake I made was not matching the license plates. I pulled them over, got out of the car and realized it was my friend with his family. I re-read the license plate and I noticed they were the same except for the last letter on the plate. The last letter on the stolen car was J. The last letter on my friends was I.

I laughed it off and apologized and we went out to dinner later that night.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

42. Where’s the Nearest Barbershop?

Remember Diane Downs, the woman in Oregon who shot her three kids to be with her lover? She originally said a "shaggy-haired strange man" had done it. So, my buddy is out jogging in that area and stops at a pay phone to call his sister to pick him up. Cop car pulls up and the cop pulls out a shotgun and points it into the phone booth.

“Uh, sis? I gotta go. If I don't call you within the next half hour look for me at the police station.” Turns out that he looked like the "shaggy-haired stranger" who supposedly had just shot three kids a little way up the road. Took him some fast-talking to convince the cop he had nothing to do with it.

Mistaken Identity FactsShutterstock

43. More than One Option

I was at my boyfriend's—we'll call him B—apartment in Louisiana, which is in kind of a rough neighborhood. We were watching a movie on the couch, and after taking my sleeping pills, fell asleep. At about 1:30 AM, there’s loud banging on the door and B gets up to investigate. My pills knock me out pretty hard, so I barely opened my eyes and see B get yanked out the door and about nine officers flood the apartment. They start asking me tons of questions and I'm barely coherent at this point.

“Ma'am, are you okay?” “Did you call the police?” “How long have you been asleep?” “What is your name?” etc. From outside the apartment, B tries telling them I fell asleep watching a movie, and they berate him for trying to answer for me. They are patting him down up against the wall outside and are about to cuff him.

They radio dispatch to call back the number that dialed 911 and are searching the apartment listening for it. I hold up my phone and tell them we didn't call the police, but they won't listen. Once I finally was able to get a word in, I ask them what this is all about. Turns out, a woman in apartment 29 was being beaten by her boyfriend and he was dragging her around by her hair, so she called the police.

I tell them this is A29, but there’s also B29, C29, and D29. Suddenly, they all rush to me and are baffled by this new information. They start yelling, "WE'VE GOTTA GO. WE'VE GOTTA GO", and suddenly they're all gone. There are dents in the door and we didn’t get an apology, but I'm happy with the way they handled the situation.

If I had called the police for a domestic abuse case, they made me a priority.

Worst Thing Found in Hotel FactsShutterstock

Sources: ,

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