LONDON — We can call this extended episode the one where Ross is finally off the hook.
“Friends” star David Schwimmer found himself at the center of a social media firestorm last month after a police appeal went viral, closely linking him to a crime on British soil. “Do you recognize this man?” police asked on Facebook. The straightforward question was quickly answered by thousands of people. To them, it was simple: The suspect was clearly Ross Geller.
Police took to Twitter on Tuesday, confirming that a 36-year-old suspect (and David Schwimmer look-alike) was arrested Monday evening in West London on suspicion of theft.
“Following the appeal we posted looking for a man who resembles a well-known actor, we now have an update. Thanks to our colleagues @MetPoliceUK, a 36-year-old man was arrested in Southall last night on suspicion of theft. Thank you for the support, especially @DavidSchwimmer!” the tweet read.
News of the arrest was welcomed with yet more amusement on social media, with some demanding to see a photo of the suspect.
The original police appeal generated replies that themselves provided a special kind of comedy gold. Within days the appeal had racked up more than 79,000 shares and more than 120,000 comments — with the news eventually reaching Schwimmer.
While some speculated that the getaway driver might have been “stuck in second gear,” others spared a thought for fellow series characters Rachel and Monica, who most definitely would not be impressed by accident-prone Ross’s latest gaffe.
Schwimmer had previously denied any involvement with the crime, writing on his social media accounts:
“Officers, I swear it wasn’t me. As you can see, I was in New York. To the hard-working Blackpool Police, good luck with the investigation.#itwasntme”
While many comments were centered on Ross’s most memorable scenes, some people couldn’t resist recalling their all-time favorite “Friends” moments. One user, channeling another character, the often-inarticulate Joey Tribbiani, wrote:
“Guys this is serious . . . it was a robbery based on giving and receiving as well as having and sharing. And the stolen items that they give and have is shared and received. And through this having and giving and sharing and receiving, we too can share and love and have . . . and receive.”
Another commenter, referring to a popular episode in which Ross makes some questionable comments on sushi and self-defense, wrote: “Please approach with caution. He is known to have studied Karate and we believe he has mastered the art of Unagi, the state of total awareness.”
It was not the first time that a police appeal for information on social media took an unexpected turn. In 2015, the Kent police force in England was mocked after sharing a sketch of a wanted suspect who bore a striking resemblance to the cartoon character Fred Flintstone.