Everyone knows Mike Rowe likes to get his hands dirty, but one job he’s never tried is bank robber.
But after a Mike Rowe look-alike stuck up a Chase bank in Medford, Oregon, on Monday, the Dirty Jobs star took to Facebook to assure the local police he had an alibi at the time of the robbery — he was in Kansas, CNN reported.
According to local news station KTVL, an armed man walked into the bank in the afternoon, gave a teller a note, showed his gun, pilfered an unspecified amount of money, then ran off. The police have security footage of the robber, which reveals his oddly familiar face, but haven’t found him just yet. They believe he’s from out of the area and that Monday’s robbery wasn’t his first.
Medford police shared the security footage stills on social media only 20 minutes after the crime. It wasn’t long before local residents noted that the suspect bore an uncanny resemblance to Mike Rowe, the Medford Mail Tribune reported. He was even dressed in the same kind of clothes as the reality star — a sweatshirt and baseball cap.
Shortly afterward, the real Rowe learned about his Oregon doppelganger through fans on social media. While in the airport waiting to board a flight, Mike visited the Medford Police Department’s Facebook page to figure out what was going on.
“I just laughed out loud,” Rowe said in an interview with the newspaper. “It does look like me!”
In fact, the suspect looked so much like him that law enforcement (jokingly) said that they issued an arrest warrant for the real Mike Rowe, KTVL later reported.
But the fact that he resembled a suspected armed bank robber inspired Mike to do something to clear his name. Two days after the robbery, he wrote an open letter to the local police to assure them that he was not their criminal. For one thing, the official physical description of the suspect was way off.
“True, I am often attired in a sweatshirt and ball cap, and yes, I do share a certain resemblance with the culprit. I’ve also been spotted in Medford on more than once occasion, (a lovely town by any standard.) However, I am not ‘5’6″- 5’8″ tall with a small to medium build.’ The last time I was 5’6″ – 5’8″ I was in the 6th grade. And the ‘small to medium’ ship sailed some time ago.”
Lt. Mike Budreau said that officers replied to Rowe’s post and let him know “he was off the hook” and welcome to return to Medford without worrying “about being tailed by the cops.” But he was a little disappointed to realize that they hadn’t zeroed in on the bank robber. With Mike’s solid alibi, the investigation must go back to the drawing board.
“This is a real bummer, but as we say, ‘It’s just as important to free innocent people from suspicion as to identify guilty parties,'” Budreau wrote on Facebook.
But Mike Rowe hasn’t left the Medford police empty-handed. He’s given them a pretty good working theory as to why their suspect looks so much like him, and why if the real criminal resembled Rowe so closely, he would allow himself to be easily photographed.
And it’s not because he’s an idiot.
“I’d like to suggest an alternative possibility – what if the thief was not an idiot, but a clever person of below average height wearing a Mike Rowe Mask? Crazy at it sounds, these masks exist. I don’t know where people get them, but a couple of years ago I ran into a woman at a Halloween party who was wearing my face, and I don’t mind telling you it scared the hell out of me. Point is, if this crook was disguised as me, he could still be in Medford, walking among you. In which case the public should NOT be on the lookout for me, but rather, a much skinnier and far less attractive man about six inches shorter, probably wearing a shirt and tie.”
Budreau called the theory brilliant and assured his officers would start looking for a suspect wearing a Mike Rowe mask. According to the New York Daily News, the national attention this story has garnered has ignited a flood of tips in the case.
[Image via s_bukley/Shutterstock]