A Picture Of Woody Harrelson Helps NYPD Nab Suspected Look-Alike Thief

(Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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New York Police Department has managed to nab a suspected beer thief who reportedly looks a lot like Woody Harrelson, thanks to a picture of the famous actor.

Using a facial recognition program, the authorities put in a picture of the 57-year-old actor to help them catch the man accused of stealing, per SF Gate on Thursday. (RELATED: U.K. Police Thank ‘Friends’ Star David Schwimmer For Helping Nab Suspected Look-Alike Thief)


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It came following the release of reports from Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, which highlighted the April 2017 episode in “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” The report focused on what it said were “flawed practices in law enforcement’s use of facial recognition.” (RELATED: Watch Kevin Costner And Woody Harrelson In The Trailer For The Bonnie & Clyde Film ‘The Highwaymen’)

According to the article:

The report says security footage of the thief was too pixelated and produced no matches while high-quality images of Harrelson, a three-time Oscar nominee, returned several possible matches and led to one arrest.

A second report focused on another time the NYPD used the image of a celebrity to search its database to capture a man suspected of assault and that was with the help of a New York Knicks player.

“The stakes are too high in criminal investigations to rely on unreliable — or wrong — inputs,” Georgetown researcher Clare Garvie explained.


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“It is one thing for a company to build a face recognition system designed to help individuals find their celebrity doppelgänger or painting lookalike for entertainment purposes,” she added. “It’s quite another to use these techniques to identify criminal suspects, who may be deprived of their liberty and ultimately prosecuted based on the match.”

The NYPD has since responded and made it clear that no arrests took place simply due to “facial recognition” alone.

“No one has ever been arrested on the basis of a facial recognition match alone,” Sgt. Jessica McRorie shared in a statement. “As with any lead, further investigation is always needed to develop probable cause to arrest.”

“We compare images from crime scenes to arrest photos in law enforcement records,” she added. “We do not engage in mass or random collection of facial records from NYPD camera systems, the internet, or social media.”

There has been no word as of yet from the famous “Cheers” star about the story. But if and when there is, you can bet we will bring it to you.