CNT clears man's name after wanted felon uses stolen identity - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

CNT clears man's name after wanted felon uses brother's identity

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Ashley Owen Ashley Owen
Robert Owen (Source: CNT) Robert Owen (Source: CNT)

A wanted felon is behind bars, but he could be in even bigger trouble after pretending to be his older brother.

Robert Holbrooke Owen, 40, along with Robyn Whatley, 42, were wanted on drug related charges. They were found Monday night in an Abercorn Street hotel and arrested.

However, it was a damaging case of mistaken identity as Owen passed himself off as his older brother, Ashley, according to CNT officials.

WTOC caught up with Ashley Owen, the wrongfully accused. He said his brother stole his identity 10 years ago, and it was easier than you might think. He had falsified government papers, a fake ID, and at one point he even had his brother's social security number. Ashley Owen says any time his little brother Robert got in trouble with the law, to avoid sitting in a jail cell on Carl Griffin Drive, he'd give police his big brother's name.

"Yeah, last night, sitting watching the news and bam, there it is, my name on TV," Owen recalled.

"Trying to find another suspect. Have you seen Ashley Owen?," Mike Manhatton said on WTOC THE News at 11 Monday night, based on information released by Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team.

"There's my brother's picture and I'm thinking great, I'm a small business owner here in the community and now my name is on TV with these charges," Owen said. 

Ashley Owen says his brother Robert has been illegally using his identity off an on, along with other names. He last saw his brother seven months ago.

Monday night, CNT was the latest law enforcement agency to fall into Robert's ID switcheroo game, even releasing a name and picture of Ashley Owen before beginning to figure out something wasn't right. They got the picture issue resolved before WTOC aired it, but his name was still made public.

By Tuesday morning, after speaking with the real Ashley Owen, CNT cleared Ashley's name and Robert Owen now faces additional charges including falsifying his information to law enforcement.

"As soon as we realized this was a case of mistaken identity we immediately put out to the public we were not looking for Ashley Owen but his brother Robert," Gene Harley, CNT, told WTOC. "We are making any corrections on our part to clear Ashley Owen's name of this." 

"Hopefully this will clear my good standing in the community so that I can move on with my day to day business," Ashley Owen said. "I'm not in jail. I'm sitting here with you today."

His brother, Robert, can't say the same thing. He'll remain behind bars while Ashley hopes working with CNT and the Chatham County District Attorney's office will finally clean Robert's charges from his record for good.

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