Woman charged with two crimes despite being miles away from the crime scene: 'It's a nightmare'

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Saturday, June 1, 2024
Driver charged with crimes after police run her plates
Amanda Kraynak learned she had been wrongly charged with trespassing and resisting a public officer in Durham in a case of mistaken identity.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Imagine being charged with not one but two crimes all due to a case of mistaken identity.

That is exactly what Amanda Kraynak did over Mother's Day weekend.

"I want somebody to help me because -- just, it's a nightmare," Kraynak said to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. "I've just been spinning my wheels and getting like absolutely nowhere."

The charges in Kraynak's name are trespassing and resisting a police officer. This stems from an incident in a Durham neighborhood where her sister lives.

"My sister lives down the street a teeny bit, so I park my car here when I visit her," Kraynak said. While her car was parked on the public street, it set in motion events that ended with her facing criminal charges.

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"It's just emotionally, financially devastating for me," the student said.

According to the police report, the owner of the house in front of where Kraynak parked called the Durham Police Department to report a woman trespassing.

"The doorbell camera is monitored by the family and they reported her trying to break in," Kraynak said. The "her" in this situation is another woman, not Kraynak. "I was in my mom's car visiting my grandmother in Fayetteville at the time that the incident occurred."

When Durham Police responded to the trespassing call, the woman allegedly told the officers she did not have ID on her, but that the car out front belonged to her.

"She claimed that my car was her car, so (the officer) ran the license plate, pulled up my driver's license and at that point, she was charged in my name," Kraynak said.

The woman was taken to the Durham County jail, charged with trespassing and resisting a public officer, and was released.

Kraynak had no idea about the charges until later that night when she was with her mom who got a phone call from a local hospital.

"All of a sudden, at 10 at night, my mom got a phone call from the E.R. that I was in the emergency room and I was like sitting right by my mom, so we knew that something was up," Kraynak said.

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Troubleshooter Diane Wilson does it again! This time she helped a local woman correct a costly mistake.

Kraynak talked to the hospital to try and figure out why they thought she was there. She said she was told, "The woman had come in with just her police paperwork that had my name on it. So they had thought that they had identified her as me. She had no identification on her other than her police report. At that time, the hospital informed me that I had two misdemeanors."

Kraynak went to the Durham Police Department the next day to track down what was going on with the criminal charges. She was able to talk to the arresting officer.

"He just said, 'You look nothing like her,' and asked if I had given anybody access to my car, which I had not. He took a look at my license and he said, 'You know, I understand. I made a mistake,'" Kraynak said.

Kraynak then went to the Magistrate and the Durham District Attorney's Office to get the charges out of her name, but she ran into trouble. Everybody told her it couldn't be done that way. Instead, she needed to show up at her court date in June.

"I actually went to the DA's office with my name, with all my paperwork to try to speak to them, and they would not speak to me. I've left a message for the assistant district attorney twice now. I just want to, clear my name. I don't I don't want to have misdemeanors on my record that I've never done. I don't want to have to get a lawyer for something I didn't do."

Fed up Kraynak reached out to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "You get the job done and I was like, if there's anyone that can help me, it would probably be you."

Wilson reached out to the Durham Police Department, which thanked us and added that The Office of the Chief had recently just became aware of this matter. The department also said that the charging officer attempted to correct the matter at the magistrate's office after speaking with Kraynak personally. However, he was referred to the Durham County District Attorney's Office. The charging officer subsequently went on a scheduled week off.

DPD also added that upon becoming aware of the issue, it contacted the District Attorney's Office and worked to get Kraynak's criminal charges dismissed and expunged Kraynak's record.

The Durham District Attorney's Office confirmed to Wilson that the Durham Police Department contacted the office about this matter and the charges have been dismissed. The representative said the court process does allow for dismissal and subsequent expunction of charges due to mistaken identity or identity theft.

Kraynak was shocked at the quick action as she said within hours of Wilson taking her case, there were results.

"You are my saving grace. No one was calling me back and I do know no one would have called me back if you guys hadn't gotten involved, so I'm very grateful for that," Kraynak said.

Kraynak is still waiting for the charges to be expunged from her record but says she was assured by DPD and the Durham District Attorney's Office that the charges would be, it just takes time for the court process.