WASHINGTON — Police in Prince William County now say the man arrested last month after reportedly shoplifting from a Northern Virginia convenience store is not former Dallas Cowboys receiver Rodney Darnell “Lucky” Whitehead.
Whitehead, whose agent had always maintained the matter was a case of mistaken identity, was released by the Cowboys on Monday — the same day the arrest was made public.
In a release Tuesday, the department said it’s now “confident” the man arrested June 22 and charged with petit larceny in connection with stealing $40 worth of food and drinks from the Wawa in Daniel Stuart Square in Woodbridge, Virginia, is not the NFL player.
In a release Tuesday, police said the man did not have ID on him at the time of the arrest but provided the name, date of birth and Social Security number belonging to Whitehead.
Officers checked the information against Department of Motor Vehicles database.
“The DMV photo on file on was then used to compare to the man who was in custody,” the department said in a news release. “Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided.”
Whitehead, 25, is a Manassas, Virginia, native.
Sgt. Jonathan Perok, a spokesman with Prince William County police, told WTOP that authorities are still investigating how the unknown man was able to supply Whitehead’s identifying information.
“We don’t know how that man had that information,” Perok said.
Perok said the officers who arrested the man outside the convenience store did not recognize the football player’s name. But after looking at recent pictures of Whitehead, they have determined he was not the man they arrested, Perok said.
Police are now trying to track down the unknown man, who was released after his arrest and is being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court. Police do not know who he is and did not take a photo of him the night he was arrested, which Perok said was standard procedure.
It’s unclear what effect the clearing of charges will have on Whitehead’s prospects with the team.
About the decision to drop Whitehead, Cowboys coach Jason Garret told the AP: “In handling the situation and evaluating with the authorities there and in talking to him, we just didn’t feel like it’s in the best interest of the Cowboys to have him with us,” Garrett said.
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