After a pup was pilfered in Pennsylvania, local police accidentally shared a photo of the rapper on Facebook, instead of the real suspect
Lil Uzi Vert was briefly and totally erroneously identified as the suspect in an alleged dog-napping case in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Aug. 31.
On Facebook yesterday, the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department shared a post about a pup pilfered from a local pet store. It included details about the case, a picture of the stolen dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy named Riku), the alleged suspect’s car, and the alleged suspect — only the last one was extremely incorrect.
The initial post with Lil Uzi Vert was up on the Wilkes-Barre PD page long enough for the incident to be wildly commented on and screen-shotted for posterity. Eventually, the cops updated the post with an accurate picture of the real suspect and acknowledged the error.
“The original photo of the male provided by the establishment was not the correct male,” the cops said (Uzi, it should be noted, identifies as gender non-conforming and uses they/them pronouns). “This current photo is the actor in question. We apologize for the error and any confusion.”
The pet store from which the dog was taken, Brookside Pups, also issued a statement on Instagram Stories, suggesting how the photo of Uzi may have ended up being used. “Wilkes-Barre police responded immediately, and issued a public alert via their Facebook page using available information on the suspect. The original post included an erroneous photo from the suspect’s social media but was promptly corrected. We wanted to make clear that the music artist Lil Uzi Vert was not involved in the theft of Riku the puppy. While the confusion in the photos used in the post was unfortunate, our focus is on the return of Riku.”
The Wilkes-Barre police did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for further comment on the mix-up or how it occured.
In a statement shared with Rolling Stone, Uzi’s reps at Roc Nation blasted the cops over the mishap: “Lil Uzi Vert was nowhere near Pennsylvania when this theft occurred, and the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department should be embarrassed and ashamed for disparaging Uzi’s character. This grave error could’ve had significant repercussions on Uzi’s career and epitomizes how Black men can be wrongfully charged and arrested by police departments across the country. Uzi loves all animals and this serious mistake has deterred the apprehension of the kidnapper. Our collective hope is that the puppy is safely and promptly rescued.”