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10 Weird and Unfortunate Incidences of Mistaken Identity

6. In 2017, when LAPD was trying to get former Navy reservist and LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who killed four people in southern California, they mistakenly fired at least 102 times at a truck, which police suspected belonged to Dorner. Two people inside the truck were Margie Carranza and Emma Hernandez.

In early, 2017, people living in southern California were in a state of shock and fear when former Navy reservist and LAPD officer Christopher Dorner went on a shooting rampage. He killed four people, including two police officers, and injured two members of the LAPD.

Previously, Dorner prepared a list that included the names of many police officers, so it made sense that the LAPD would be cautious about a truck matching the description of Dorner’s, which was seen near the house of one of those officers in the early morning. But, the illogical thing that police did was to fire on the truck without even checking whether Dorner was inside or not.

The people present inside the truck were then 47-year-old Margie Carranza, and then-71-year-old  Emma Hernandez, who were delivering copies of the LA Times when police mistakenly shot at least 102 times towards their truck.

Thankfully, they both survived the shooting. (source)


7. In 2006, the BBC mistakenly conducted an interview with Guy Goma, a person who came for a job interview, instead of the real invited expert, Guy Kewney, at their London office. Both the people were present that day.

Guy Goma Guy Kewney
Guy Goma – was at BBC studio for an interview, Guy Kewney – Real expert. Image credits: BBC/YouTube, YouTube

In 2006, the BBC invited Guy Kewney, an expert on the Internet and a technology writer, to talk about the legal battle between Apple Inc. and Apple Corps, a record label owned by the Beatles.

On the day Guy Kewney arrived at BBC’s London office, another man named Guy Goma came to the same office for a job interview. When Guy Goma mentioned his name to the BBC staff, they mistakenly started preparing him for the on-air talk, instead of Guy Kewney.

Guy Gma thought they were setting up the microphone on him for his job interview. He only realized the mix-up when the supposed live-talk started in front of the camera. Any person in this situation would become nervous, but he tried his best to be calm and composed.

His replies to the questions were confusing. When he was asked whether he was surprised to know about the verdict of the legal battle, he responded, “I’m very surprised to see this verdict come on me. I was not expecting that.” Definitely, he was not expecting to be in that position.

Sadly, he did not get the job. (source)


8. Bernard Pagano, a then-53-year-old father at a Catholic church in Maryland, was mistakenly charged with armed robbery on the basis of a sketch made by consulting with eyewitnesses. Later, it was discovered that Roland Clouse, a former postal worker, was responsible for the robberies.

Bernard Pagano
Bernard Thomas Pagano – A priest (Image to the left), Roland Clouse – responsible for robberies. Image credits: poconorecord, Delawareonline

In 1979, a robber named “The Gentleman Bandit” stole from five businesses in Delaware. The strange name was given to the robber because of his polite and apologetic attitude towards the victims.

When police sketched the suspect after consulting with the witnesses, a series of anonymous leads led police to discover an unusual suspect, Father Bernard Pagano, then 53 years old, a man who used to work as an assistant pastor at a Catholic church in Maryland.

On February 27, police charged Father Pagano with five counts of armed robbery. For many people, it was hard to believe that the father could do such a thing as he was a respected and popular figure in the community, but seven witnesses were quite positive that he was the bandit responsible for the robberies.

Unconvinced with the police investigation, Pagano’s defense team started their search, which helped them to find the more probable culprit, Roland Clouser. Ronald, a former Pennsylvania postal worker, looked very much like Pagano.

When he learned about the wrongful arrest of Father Bernard, out of guilt, he staged more robberies to convince the police that they had the wrong man in custody. Finally, the real bandit admitted his crimes, and the innocent father was discharged with a formal apology. (source)

9. In a robbery case, Richard Jones from Kansas city was mistakenly arrested and sentenced to prison for 19 years because of his striking resemblance with the real robber, Ricky Amos. Richard was released after spending 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Richard jones
Richard A Jones (Image to the left), Ricky Amos – Real Robber. Image credit: Toriano Porter via

This is probably one of the most unfortunate cases of mistaken identity recorded. On May 31, 1999, Richard Jones, a Kansas City resident, was happily celebrating Memorial Day and his girlfriend’s birthday at his home. On the same day in Kansas City, Ricky Amos, along with his gang, robbed a phone from a woman at a local Walmart store.

When the police started to investigate the case, the details about the appearance of the robber given by the witnesses were quite vague. Unfortunately, every physical attribute of the criminal, including the nickname, matched Richard who had no role in this case.

Richard was mistakenly arrested instead of the actual criminal and sentenced to19 years in prison.
After serving 15 years behind the bars, one day he was informed by his inmates about a similar-looking guy in the same prison. The look-alike person was none other than, Ricky Amos, the real phone robber.

The resemblance between Richard Jones and Ricky Amos was quite astonishing. They both had dark eyes, thick eyebrows, and a similar skin tone. They also braided their hair, wore goatees, and were nicknamed “Rick.” The innocent guy was finally released after spending 17 years in prison for a crime he never committed. (source)


10. In 2012, Gilberto Araújo’s family in Brazil organized his funeral after they mistakenly identified a dead body of Genivaldo Santos Gama to be his. When Araújo came to his own funeral, everyone was shocked and happy to see him alive.

Gilberto Araújo
Gilberto Araújo – surprised his family by walking into his own funeral. Image credit: YouTube/

Imagine what would be the reaction of a person when he comes back home and sees his funeral. That is exactly what happened to Gilberto Araújo. In 2012, when Araújo, then 40 years old, was walking on the street, he was told by an acquaintance that his family is mourning his death at his funeral.

The flabbergasted car washer from Brazil arrived at the scene and shocked his family and friends. It turned out that the dead man inside the coffin was Genivaldo Santos Gama, another car washer in the town who was murdered.

Araújo’s family members from the town of Alagoinhas, Brazil, had mistakenly identified the dead body of Genivaldo as Araújo in the local morgue, as they had a similar appearance. (source)

Also read: 12 Incredible Cops’ Stories That We All Need to Know


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