Identity theft victim spends 32 days in Missouri jail

Local man says police arrested him for crimes he did not commit

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A local man said police arrested him for crimes that he did not commit.

Channel 2's Carl Willis talked to the victim, who said he is still paying for his stolen identity, while the real suspect walks free.

For weeks, 27-year-old James Molden said he tried to wrestle his identity back from a thief who stole his Social Security number and photo identification.

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He said he filed a police report in DeKalb County to alert authorities, but he ended up being the one with a mugshot.

"I was in Stone Mountain. I was surrounded by six different police cars and cops telling me I have warrants for my arrest,” he said.

Molden said his former roommate used his identity to buy a car that he never made a payment on and opened several bank accounts, bouncing checks all over Pulaski County, Missouri.

The man eventually worked his way to eight warrants out for his arrest, but it was the real James Molden who Stone Mountain police arrested.

“They told me I was a fugitive from justice," Molden said.

Molden told Willis he sat in jail until he was extradited more than 700 miles away to Missouri.

"Took the bus seven days to get there on the van,” he said. “We were handcuffed, shackled, went through 19 different states, (and were) basically just treated like animals," he said.

The prosecuting attorney in Pulaski County emailed Willis and said that charges have been dismissed.

Molden said he is relived but that it is too little, too late.

"I lost two jobs. I lost my car. I spent 32 days in jail," Molden said.

Molden said he is still on the hook for $3,900 for his bail.

He told Willis he is telling his story so that no others experience what he endured.

"Actually sit back and investigate something before you ruin somebody's life, because that can be your child or one of your family members," Molden said.