Case of mistaken identity at jail leads to process review


Melvin William Anderson, Jr., 36, was booked into the Alachua County Jail by a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officer on the morning of March 3, under the name Jacoby Uriah Emmanuel Anderson, 29, and charged with petit theft – 3rd or subsequent offense for allegedly shoplifting some socks. Jacoby Anderson also had an outstanding warrant.

However, as the defendant was being released on his own recognizance the next day, his fingerprints were “reprocessed as per protocol,” and it was discovered that he was actually Melvin Anderson, the brother of Jacoby Anderson. An investigation found that Melvin has “used his brother Jacoby Anderson’s identity in the past.” After being confronted with the information, Melvin allegedly continued to insist he was Jacoby before eventually conceding that he was Melvin.

A search of Melvin Anderson’s property at the jail reportedly found a clear plastic bag with white powder that field-tested positive for MDPV-Methylone. Because Melvin provided a false identity, Jacoby was wrongly charged with felony retail theft, an adverse effect of the fraudulent use of his identity. Melvin Anderson was then charged with use of a false ID that adversely affects another, possession of drugs, and smuggling contraband into a detention facility.

According to Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ASO) Public Information Officer Art Forgey, the prints initially came back identifying the defendant as Melvin Anderson, but the entry for Jacoby Anderson was selected in the system when he was booked into the jail. When the discrepancy was found as the defendant was being released, GPD was notified and ASO deputies responded to the jail to investigate and add the additional charges. Forgey said, “It appears to be a case of human error and the whole process is being reviewed.”

Anderson is being held on $27,500 bail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • So glad our land of the free keeps these hardened criminals from being a threat to the rest of us.

  • Ridiculous! I am a retired public school elementary grades teacher. We did a better observation of what kids came in & out with. NO wonder I’ve heard so much negativity about this jail!!!

  • More incompetence from the jail staff. It replects on the sheriff big time, who already has an identity crisis!

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