Mike Rowe look-alike gets TV time
Thanks to a celebrity TV host, social media and national television news, a Medford bank robbery suspect's picture has been seen across the U.S.
Photos of the man, originally shared by Medford police, now have been seen by the 3 million-plus Facebook friends of celebrity TV show host Mike Rowe, best known for his show "Dirty Jobs." On Wednesday, Rowe shared the photos on his page to jokingly "exonerate" himself of the crime, as many people noticed he and the suspect looked alike. Clearly it wasn't him (he was in Kansas), but his humorous alibi message got attention.
It capped today with a segment on "Good Morning America," where Rowe was interviewed about the odd case of "mistaken identity." The program also featured Medford police spokesman Lt. Mike Budreau, who discussed the initial surge of tipsters who noted the robber's resemblance to the celebrity and how the department rolled with the joke.
"It appears I am no longer a person of interest in the Medford bank robbery," Rowe wrote on his Facebook page after his TV interview. "Thanks to the local media, and a brief appearance on 'Good Morning America' this morning, my alibi has been confirmed, and my reputation restored. The bad news? My face is still at large, albeit, attached to a ne’er do well who continues to evade the authorities."
From Medford's standpoint, you can't get the word out much better.
"We're really happy we've been able to get this guy's mugshot out to so many people," Budreau said, adding the department has been overwhelmed with tips, many of them from out of the area. "Actually, the tips started flooding in pretty heavily (Wednesday) when it started trending on Facebook and social media."
Police believe the robber is likely from out of the area, as he didn't try to conceal his identity, and may have left town.
"It always is our general theory if there's no attempt to conceal their identity," Budreau said.
Investigators also believe the suspect likely will strike again. He's described as 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 8, with a medium build, and was last seen wearing a ball cap and gray sweatshirt.
The robbery suspect walked into a Chase bank Monday afternoon, demanded cash and fled. Police had surveillance photos of him shared online within minutes. It didn't take long for commenters to notice the man looked like Rowe, best known for his hosting duties on Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs." Some playfully suggested that it was Rowe.
Medford police played along, saying they had issued a warrant for Rowe's arrest, but to keep the tips coming just in case. That's when Rowe responded with a message of his own.
The exposure isn't over yet, either. "Inside Edition" also will feature a segment on the odd case, said Budreau, who was interviewed for the show.
"Everything's been working in our favor so far on this case," Budreau said.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Medford police at 541-770-4784.