The wrong Rodriguez: Man says he was mistakenly jailed for 16 hours


by Staff

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 7:06 PM

ATASCOSA COUNTY -- A man says he was locked up for 16 hours because he shares the same name as a wanted fugitive.

Robert Rodriguez admits he has a common name. His most recent mix-up with the law was actually his second time being mistaken for a criminal. The first time he got off with a simple explanation.

It wasn't so easy the second time.

Rodriguez said he was pulled over while driving on FM 476 around 11 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities were looking for a man wanted for domestic violence out of Harris County.

The problem: Robert Rodriguez and the fugitive don't just share the same name. They share the same birthday, too.

"I didn't know how to explain, how to even begin to explain what was going on for me," he said.

An explanation might not have helped in his case. Nothing added up when he got to jail, Rodriguez said, but that didn't stop officers from throwing him in a cell.

"On their report, it has that the gentleman has tattoos on his chest and on his back. The first thing they did was take my shirt off to see of I had tattoos on my chest and on my back and I didn't," he said.
Eventually, Rodriguez was taken before a judge where he again tried to explain they had the wrong man.
"And again, he says 'We already spoke to you. We spoke to your mother and your wife, and we've already told y'all that it's you.'"
The Robert Rodriguez wanted in Harris County is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds.

The Robert Rodriguez thrown behind bars is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 260 pounds.

But oddly enough, the social security number and driver's license number were a match.
"I was really in disbelief while I was in the cell. I honestly think somebody stole my identity," he said.
Rodriguez said a simple apology would have been nice. He said he was simply released without any explanation.
"They really put my family through a big scare," he said. "I still can't believe that they would do something like that to somebody."

Rodriguez, a father of three, said he's really embarrassed by the whole ordeal. It even caused him to miss work, which is another mess he's now trying to clear up.