Police were forced into denying a suspected shoplifter was Ross Geller from much-loved US sitcom Friends after a Facebook post drew thousands of comedy responses.
Officers shared a CCTV image of the man who bore an uncanny resemblance to actor David Schwimmer.
The offender is pictured clutching what appears to be a crate of beer, as he stares down a security camera in Blackpool, Lancs.
With dark hair and similar features, the suspect looks undeniably like Schwimmer, who is often remembered for his goofy but lovable demeanour in the hit show.
The doppelganger is wanted on suspicion of theft after he allegedly stole from a restaurant on September 20 this year.
Within minutes of the post on social media, internet users bombarded Blackpool Police’s Facebook page with jokes inspired by the 90s sitcom.
After seeing the sheer scale of the responses, the police wrote their own comment – and it was praised as ‘comedy gold’.
A police spokesman said: “Thank you to everyone for your speedy responses.
“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”.
As comments on the post descended into something of a Friends quote-fest, a number of the 50,000 users who chipped in referenced the show’s chart-topping theme song.
“I don’t think it’s been this guy’s day, his week, his month or even his year,” wrote Nick Croston.
While Olly Byrne quipped: “I’m surprised you’ve not found him… it’s like you’re always stuck in second gear.”
Others, such as Joe Richardson, riffed on some of Ross’s most well-known quotes.
“Shouldn’t he be at work…or is he on a break?”, asked Joe.
While Jay Murdoch wrote: “Apparently the police had him cornered then he performed a pivot manoeuvre and escaped.”
Craig Thompson added: “I saw him behind me in the shop around that time.. just as I was paying for MY SANDWICH.”
Scottish police also got in on the act, with bobbies in Dumfries and Galloway sharing the post and warning members of the public to “keep away” from the suspect.
“He is known to have studied karate and we believe he has mastered the art of Unagi, the state of total awareness”, they wrote.
However, some commenters reminded their fellow Friends fans that a real-life crime had been committed.
“He’s a thief and it’s serious,” wrote Grace Higham. “But these comments are hilarious.”
Police appealed for anyone with brand new information about the theft, which took place at a restaurant on 20 September, to contact them.
The original post read: “Do you recognise this man? We want to speak to him in relation to a theft at a Blackpool restaurant on the 20th September.
“If you know who this is, please email [email protected] quoting log LC-20180920-0670. Thank you for your help.”
Schwimmer starred in Friends from 1994 until its finale in 2004.
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