ST. LOUIS — A Missouri man who avoided prison because of a clerical error and led a law-abiding life for 13 years said he is overwhelmed by the support he’s received since the story of his incarceration became public.

Meanwhile, the Missouri attorney general signaled that he would look for a way to take Cornealious “Mike” Anderson’s many years of clean living into account in attempting to resolve the “difficult situation.”

Anderson, who was convicted in 2000 of armed robbery for holding up a restaurant manager in suburban St. Louis, said he was cheered by inmates and guards at the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston after his story appeared in news accounts.

An online petition urging his release has collected nearly 30,000 signatures, and one of Anderson’s attorneys said Friday that the office has been flooded with calls.

“It’s a little overwhelming and embarrassing to me, but I can’t thank people enough,” Anderson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I’ve had other prisoners tell me it gives them hope.”

Anderson was sentenced to 13 years. Authorities told him to wait for orders that would specify when and where he was to report to prison. But the orders never came. So Anderson went about his life, never trying to conceal his whereabouts or identity. He married, divorced, married again. He raised three children of his own and a stepchild, owned and operated three construction businesses.

In July, Anderson’s sentence was supposed to end. When someone at the Missouri Department of Corrections tried to begin the process of releasing him from prison, the agency realized he had never been put behind bars.