(NEW YORK) — The James Blake lookalike from Australia who was also mistakenly identified as a suspect during a New York Police Department credit card fraud sting has spoken out, saying he believes “this whole mess could have been avoided.”
A photo of Sean Satha, a sunglasses designer who has been in Australia during the whole ordeal, was given to the NYPD by a delivery company claiming a group had purchased $18,000 worth of items from the company in fraudulent credit cards, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said after the incident last week.
Company officials said they got the photo off Instagram, based on the name of a person they’d done business with, he added.
“If you look at the photo … it’s a reasonable likeness to Mr. Blake,” Boyce said. “They look like twins.”
But it turned out that the man in the photo was Satha, who was not involved in the fraud case in any way, the chief of detectives said.
“So the image of me that a lot of people have seen was originally posted on Instagram by my brother,” Satha told ABC News station WABC-TV in New York. “I’m actually pictured holding a friend’s newborn in the sun.”
He added, “Actually, my name is pretty clearly tagged on the original photo, so I think this whole mess could have been avoided if someone had spent 10 minutes doing some research on Google prior to the manhunt.”
Satha, himself a twin, said he was “pretty upset” after he saw his photo “being broadcasted all over the media and being called a suspect and thief,” but he was “really inspired by the way James Blake handled the situation.”
Blake, 35, “was assaulted and intimidated during the mistaken arrest, but he’s handled the situation like an absolute champion,” Satha said. “I respect him for addressing the situation with a cool head and a kind heart. He’s used his profile to give a voice to others — those suffering from excessive force who have been unable to speak out — so I just really hope that something good comes from this unfortunate series of events.”
The NYPD has called Satha to explain the photo mishap, reiterating the chief of detectives’ words in the news conference last week.
Satha has also been able to find humor amid what he said was a “ridiculous situation” that “sounds like an episode of Seinfeld.”
“At first, I was kind of stoked that the cops thought I looked like a professional athlete,” he said, laughing. “Honestly, I don’t think I look like James Blake, but he’s a good looking bloke so I can understand the confusion.”
Satha added that he actually has a twin brother, though that twin is definitely “not James Blake.”
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