TUCSON – Lawrence White was looking forward to seeing his brother-in-law at his wedding. He never made it. Instead, Roman Alberto Lopez spent the weekend in jail.
“It was shocking. It was extremely unfair and unjust,” said White.
White says Lopez was arrested after a case of mistaken identity.
In town for the weekend, Lopez called 911 after someone broke into his hotel room. When Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, they checked Lopez’s identification and arrested him on an outstanding warrant out of Yavapai County.
The problem is, the warrant is for Roman Alberto Lopez-Casada. Similar name, same birthday, different person.
“It was just a nightmare. He came all the way out here and spent all that money just for an event that’s not going to happen again,” said White.
White says he spent five days trying to convince Pima County officials Lopez was not the man they were looking for.
“As I approached Pima County Detention Center they wouldn’t hear any of it. Even acknowledge any of it. All they told me was that the sheriff’s department in Prescott has been alerted to come pick him up,” said White.
News 4 Tucson Investigator Nick VinZant spoke with both Pima and Yavapai County officials. Pima County said they arrested Lopez because he matched the description of Lopez-Casada.
Lopez was eventually released after Yavapai county officials realized he was not the person they were looking for.
Yavapai County also sent Lopez a letter specifically saying he is not the person in the warrant.
White says the whole incident could have been avoided if county officials communicated better.
This is not the first time Lopez was arrested after being mistaken for Lopez-Casada. Family members say he was also arrested in 1997 and 2010.