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In the Firefly episode Jaynestown, the crew comes across a town that worships Jayne as a folkhero to the point of building a statue of him. The likeness isn't perfect, but it clearly emulates Jayne too well to be total guesswork.

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Is it ever explained how the town knew his name and his appearance so well? Since he was planning on robbing the place, it would be odd if he showed his face all around town.

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up vote 29 down vote accepted

Jayne seems to have spent some time in the community, casing the magistrate's house with a view to burgling him. On the day, something clearly went wrong and he was forced to flee in the Magistrate's own ship.

Jayne: Look, Mal, I got no ruttin' idea. I was here a few years back, like I said. Pulled a second-story, stole a lotta scratch from the Magistrate up on the hill. But things went way south, and I had to high-tail it. They don't put you on a pedestal in town square for that--

The busker also strongly implies that Jayne had sufficient opportunity to observe the indignities of their lives:

BUSKER: Our Jayne saw the mudder's backs breaking / and he saw the mudders' laments / and he saw the Magistrate taking / every dollar an' leavin' five cents / so he said, 'can't do this to my people' / 'can't crush them under your heel'/ Jayne strapped on his hat, and in ten seconds flat, stole everything there was fit to steal-- - Jaynestown: Shooting Script

As to why he used his own name is anyone's guess but let's not forget that Jayne isn't exactly over-endowed in the brain area, nor was he expecting to get caught.

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5  
Awwww, Jayne's smart, just in a very... Jayne way. – DanielSank Jan 22 at 5:42

The Magistrate had obviously had Jayne's accomplice interrogated. Since he knew Jayne's full name, the interrogators could easily have it. It seems likely that they may have posted wanted posters from which the Mudders got the info. Or some other channel from the Magistrate might exist (a servant, for example).

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