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Celebrity profiling



The Chicago Police Department has apologized for issuing a community alert that described a suspect in a series of sexual assaults as resembling Ice Cube, after a television station aired one of the rapper's videos during its evening newscast. A police alert Sunday described the suspect as a black male in his mid-20s who "resembles the popular rap artist Ice Cube." On Monday night, Chicago CBS station WBBM showed an Ice Cube video when it reported the story.

"We acknowledged the information should not have been on the alert," police spokesman David Bayless said Tuesday. The community alert was reissued without a reference to the 34-year-old, whose real name is O'Shea Jackson.

— Associated Press, July 23

WBBM-TV, Chicago, July 22, 2003:
Police are retracting a statement they made Sunday about the ongoing search for a man who sexually assaulted three women in Wicker Park. Cops had said the assailant looks remarkably like a certain famous rapper, whose face we in turn showed you as part of our newscast last night. While police spokesman David Bayless maintains that the resemblance is a strong one -- "like, so dead-on it's scary" -- he now says the widely publicized comparison was a mistake.

To help defuse the unfortunate situation, our station has agreed to make no further mention of the hip-hopper who was unfairly associated with this shocking series of crimes. But he's currently in town shooting a movie whose title rhymes with "Farbershop 2."

WESH-TV, Orlando, July 23:
A local convenience store was held up at gunpoint early this morning, and police are asking for your help in nabbing the culprit. They say a bearded caucasian male of medium height walked into the 7-Eleven at Colonial Drive and Magnolia Avenue, then pulled out a pistol and forced the cashier on duty to empty the register. Luckily, the employee in question is well versed in soft rock, and was able to inform the investigating officers that the thief is a so-called dead ringer for one of the music's top stars. So if you think you may have seen Kenny Loggins wandering the streets with a loaded nine millimeter, please call our crimeline immediately.

WFTV, July 24:
A domestic-violence incident at a trailer park in unincorporated Orange County remains unresolved this evening, but sheriff's deputies may be close to making an arrest. Two days ago, they responded to a distress call at the Tranquil Twister Motor Court, where they found doublewide owner Luther Drysdale bruised and unconscious. Upon revival, Drysdale claimed that his wife had beaten him severely and then vanished from the premises. But he predicted that hiding would be difficult for Mrs. Drysdale, who he said fits the description of "one of the greatest ladies in sports."

That information, deputies feel, allowed them to associate the case with a tip they received this morning from a concerned local homeowner, who reportedly phoned their headquarters to declare, "I got Tonya Harding locked up in the ga-rage, and I'll guaran-damn-tee it."

WOFL-TV, July 25:
Authorities remain determined to locate a homeless man who became caught in some high-power lines yesterday afternoon, receiving a jolt of more than 3,000 volts and wandering off before his injuries could be attended to.

The man is said to be short and dark-haired, with facial features that give him a surprisingly boyish appearance. Due to his exposure to the massive electrical current, he may be experiencing recurring difficulty managing his movements and speech. To help in their search, public-safety officials are distributing recent photos of Michael J. Fox.

WKMG-TV, July 26:
Your Local 6 Problem Solvers are at it again, scouring Central Florida neighborhoods for a vicious dog that has already injured two people and may be making its way to your front door. Yesterday afternoon, a Longwood cable-TV installer was mauled by the rowdy quadruped; just a few hours later, an unsuspecting mailman less than four blocks away suffered a withering bite to the crotch.

Animal-control administrators say the furry fugitive is the spitting image of Frank the Pug, wisecracking star of the Men in Black movies. Some eyewitness reports even have the pooch dressed in a jet-black suit jacket and smoking a Cuban cigar. But authorities believe he may have recently ditched these identifying items in order to avoid capture, perhaps by burying them in a nearby yard. Area residents are advised to be on the lookout for a guilty-looking canine who chews nicotine gum incessantly, and who greets surprised housewives with a gravelly, "Hiya, toots!"

WESH-TV, July 27:
Well, there's been another robbery at the 7-Eleven at Colonial and Magnolia, but this time the police are finding it harder to carry out an investigation. Late last night, a stick-up artist again absconded with the day's receipts. And the cashier who was manning the counter has indicated that this bandit, too, enjoys a distinct similarity to a high-profile public figure. But Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, cowed by recent developments in the City of Chicago, has decreed that our cops are now forbidden to use third parties as examples when issuing suspect descriptions.

Our station promises to do everything within its power to comply with the mayor's wishes. What we can tell you is that the thief is African-American, with long curly hair and a beard that he may or may not have shaved by the time this report was filed. He is of medium build, and vigilant citizens should take note that he was last seen wearing ...

Oh, the hell with it. It's Ol' Dirty Bastard.

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