Ocala man claims to be his brother to avoid being arrested

Joshua Jay Vannatter

An Ocala man falsely identified himself as his brother to the Marion County sheriff’s deputy who arrested him on an outstanding warrant Wednesday morning.

Joshua Jay Vannatter, 31, of 816 NE 31st St., also reportedly tried to flee on foot before being apprehended. Vannatter, who was wanted for violating his probation on a 2018 battery conviction, was also charged with resisting an officer without violence and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer.

The deputy was traveling north on NE 9th Avenue near NE 31st Street when he observed a tall white male with short hair and tattoos on his arms walking south from NE 33rd Street. The deputy, who had been trying to serve the warrant to Vannatter for more than two weeks, recognized him from photographs, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The deputy turned around his patrol car and began to pursue Vannatter, who ignored orders to stop and started running south on NE 9th Avenue. The deputy pursued Vannatter with his lights and siren on until Vannatter approached his residence. The deputy then got out of his vehicle and apprehended him in the back yard, the report said.

Vannatter asked why the deputy was chasing him and, when told, he said the deputy must be looking for his brother. He then provided his name as Gregory Jay Vannatter and said he and his brother have the same appearance and distinctive tattoos. The deputy viewed a photograph of Gregory that did not look like Joshua, according to the report.

While being taken to the Marion County Jail, Vannatter admitted he provided a false name. He’s being held on $1,000 bond and will appear in Marion County Court on Oct. 2.