British police's search for David Schwimmer 'lookalike' creates social media frenzy

Variety

British police have had to issue a tongue-in-cheek statement confirming that they have ruled out actor David Schwimmer as a suspect in a theft case after posting a "wanted" picture of someone who bore a striking resemblance to the "Friends" star.

Social media users took to Twitter and Facebook in droves after the original picture was posted on the Blackpool Police's Facebook page on Tuesday. The force said they wanted to speak to the unidentified man about a theft at a local restaurant. "Do you recognise this man?" the post asked. Many people thought they did, or at least spied a resemblance.

The post has now received 124,000 comments, and counting. "I don't think it's been this guy's day, his week, his month or even his year," one post read, a response to the deluge of "Friends" references and Ross quotes. ("The one where Ross steals beer," one snickered. "People need to approach him with caution!! If provoked he may turn into red Ross, a man who's mastered unagi," another wrote.)

The police have now said that Schwimmer, now appearing in the revived "Will & Grace," has a solid alibi. "Thank you to everyone for your speedy responses," the cops said in a Facebook update. "We have investigated this matter thoroughly and have confirmed that David Schwimmer was in America on this date. We're so sorry it has to be this way."

There was no update on whether the actual suspect had turned himself in or been taken in for questioning by authorities. They want to quiz him about the theft of a jacket, wallet and cellphone from Mr. Basrai's restaurant in Blackpool, a seaside resort town in northern England famous for its beach and illuminations.

"Friends" was a huge hit in Britain, where it can still be watched daily on Channel 4, Comedy Central and Netflix.

Schwimmer is known to British authorities - passport-control officials, anyway - as he has come to the U.K. in the past to perform on the London stage, in Neil LaBute's "Some Girls" in 2005, and is producing a BBC adaptation of the play "Love." He was not, however, in Blackpool on Sept. 20 - not even on a break.

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