A WOODY Harrelson lookalike has been caught after stealing beer in New York in a case that closely mimics the Ross from Friends doppelganger in Blackpool.

A police enquiry into the thief originally hit a dead end before investigators noticed an uncanny resemblance between the suspect and the Hollywood star.

Investigators were originally stumped after CCTV collected from the store was too poor quality to be run through the police's facial recognition software.

However, cunning officers then decided to run a high-resolution photo of three-time Oscar winner Harrelson through their system in April 2017, which returned several matches and led to one arrest, a new report found.

Georgetown University's centre on privacy and technology said the use of the Now You See Me actor instead of the suspect showed the flaws in using facial recognition.

Clare Garvie, one of the centre's researchers, said: "The stakes are too high in criminal investigations to rely on unreliable – or wrong – inputs."


She added: "It is one thing for a company to build a face recognition system designed to help individuals find their celebrity doppelganger or painting lookalike for entertainment purposes.

"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 New York Police Department confirmed that their use of facial recognition is only to produce new leads and would not be the sole basis for an arrest.

The report found that the NYPD were aided in solving around 2,900 cases in more than five years due to the use of the technology.

The Woody Harrelson case follows on from the arrest of Abdulah Husseini, who sparked headlines across the world for his uncanny resemblance to David Schwimmer.

The American, best known for his role as Ross on US sitcom Friends, caught wind of his impostor's actions and then posted his own hilarious reconstruction.

Husseini was jailed for shoplifting earlier this year — and giggled when Judge Beverley Lunt made the comparison as he ap­peared at Preston crown court.


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