Inmate mistakenly released from San Francisco jail arrested

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Sheriff's Department is launching an investigation to determine how an inmate was mistakenly set free Tuesday night.

Michael Willis, 45, had about six hours of freedom before he was recaptured by San Francisco police Wednesday morning.

His release seems to have come from a case of mistaken identity as he was one of two Michael Willis' being held in the city jail.

One appeared in court Tuesday and a judge ordered his release, but it was the other one who was actually let go.

The sheriff's department said the two had similar descriptions. One was 5'9" and the other 5'10". One was born in August of 1971, and the other was born in June of the same year. "What we're looking at now is was this human error? Did somebody make a mistake, and not follow the procedure we have in place when we release people? Or is there something about this procedure that needs to be improved," San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Eileen Hirst said.

San Francisco police arrested Willis, the one who is supposed to be locked up near Taylor and Ellis streets at 10:15 a.m. and returned him to jail.

He was wanted on charges of theft, peddling without a license and on a felony warrant for failure to appear in court.

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