Twenty-four-year-old Shastina Kumar started getting threats on Monday because her first and last name are identical to that of a 21-yeaer-old woman who was arrested and charged with drug trafficking offenses. Shastina Kumar doesn't have a criminal record and says the mix-up was 'scary for a while'.
SURREY – Innocent South Asian media woman herself became the news when news broke that an alleged South Asian criminal busted in Surrey this week had a similar name as her.
Shastina Sashi Kumar works for Radio Bula Masti, a multilingual station based in Vancouver, and told CBC News that she has no criminal record. She's 24 years old and lives in Surrey, B.C.
However, she's been confused with Shastina Shrena Kumar, an alleged drug trafficker, who was recently charged with nearly a dozen gang-related offences. She's 21 years old and also lives in Surrey, B.C.
If you had to read those names twice to nail down the difference, you wouldn't be the only one — and the similarity created a major mistaken identity problem for the innocent Shastina Kumar.
The 21-year-old Kumar was charged in an investigation believed to be linked to Lower Mainland gang conflict on Monday, reported CBC News.
Kumar, the one without a criminal record, says she soon started getting nasty messages on Facebook from strangers who thought she was the "other Shastina."
Some claimed Kumar owed them money and others threatened her.
"It was still quite scary for a while … I was kind of overwhelmed," she said
At first, Kumar said she blocked the users because she didn't know why they were messaging her.
Then Bula Masti listeners started calling and her boss started asking questions. Confused, Kumar did a quick Google search and found articles about the stranger's arrest.
Then, everything clicked.
"I was like 'Oh, OK, that's what's going on," she said. "So I just told everyone, 'No no no, you got the wrong girl.'
Kumar added her middle name to her Facebook profile and posted a public status explaining the situation. The threats and messages stopped after that, much to the 24-year-old's relief. She also contacted CBC to tell her story.
She was surprised that there are two young women in Surrey with the same name, saying her name is inspired by a hotel in California.
"Sometimes I've thought I must be the only Shastina in the world."
The other Kumar has been released on bail and is under house arrest.
Courtesy CBC News