Lookalike 'Wanted' Leaflet Features Harry Potter Actor

Police in Christchurch, New Zealand are after a burglar; they know who he is and they have his picture. But, because the suspect is underage, they can't post it. They've hit upon an unusual tactic.

Authorities have put out a leaflet with a picture of actor Robbie Coltrane. Small print explains that

"Robbie Coltrane is not the burglar, but imagine him aged 16 with lank, greasy hair and you have the picture. The burglar lives locally and travels by bicycle to commit his crimes."

(Wanted Leaflet Features Harry Potter Actor Robbie Coltrane)

Coltrane has appeared in a number of movies; his most famous role (for Americans) is probably that of Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter movie series.

This tactic was anticipated by William Gibson in his 1993 novel Virtual Light.

Separated at Birth was a police program you used in missing persons cases. You scanned a photo of the person you wanted, got back the names of half a dozen celebrities who looked vaguely like th subject, then went around asking people if they'd seen anybody lately who reminded them of A,B,C... The weird thing was, it worked better than just showing them a picture of the subject...
(Read more about the separated at birth database)

From Guardian Blogs and Lookalike leaflet to catch thief; thanks to David for pointing this one out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/11/2008)

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