TARRANT COUNTY, Texas – An Arizona man says American Airlines wrongfully identified him as a burglar, leading to his arrest during his trip to New Mexico, which led to him spending 17 days in jail.
WFAA says Michael Lowe from Flagstaff, Arizona, has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines after he was wrongfully identified as a burglary suspect. The lawsuit says Lowe has accused American Airlines of negligence, mental, physical and financial damages for the incident that happened in 2020. Lowe was jailed for about 17 days.
Lowe boarded an American Airlines plane from Flagstaff, Arizona to Reno, Nevada, WFAA says. There was a layover and plane change at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The DFW airport investigated a burglary that happened in Terminal D before the flight took off with Lowe on it, according to court records obtained by WFAA.
KTVK says airport police used surveillance video to identify the suspect and say he looked tall and thin, was white or Hispanic and had a short military-style haircut. Court records obtained by KTVK say the suspect got on the same plane as Lowe. A few weeks later, Lowe had two arrest warrants for felony burglary and criminal mischief.
Lowe was on vacation in New Mexico the following year on July 4, 2021, WFAA says. Lowe allegedly had an encounter with police as they were looking for a person who had caused some kind of disturbance. Police ran his name and came across the warrants. They took him into custody.
Lowe told officers that he was unaware of the arrest warrants and charges, saying they had the wrong person in jail, WFAA says. He was released 17 days later with no further information and no way of getting back to Arizona.
WFAA says Lowe spent time investigating once he got home in order to clear his name. During his investigation, he learned that American Airlines had provided his name and information to officers. The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office was able to determine he was innocent and dropped the charges.
Lowe is suing American Airlines for civil damages, claiming negligence, KTVK says.