False ID: Cowboys' Lucky Whitehead Not the Man Cited in Virginia Larceny Case, Police Say

Police say man provided false identifying information, implicating Dallas Cowboys player

A day after he was cut from the Dallas Cowboys, police in Virginia say Lucky Whitehead is not the man cited for petit larceny and failure to appear in court.

Whitehead, 25, was cut by the team Monday afternoon, hours after the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia told multiple media outlets there was a warrant issued for his arrest for failure to appear in court after being allegedly cited for trying to steal $40 in groceries from a convenience store.

David Rich, Whitehead's agent, said Monday that Whitehead did not commit the crime and wasn't even in Virginia when the theft happened. Rich said the charges were due to an identity mix-up.

On Tuesday, the Prince William County Police confirmed Rich's assertion and said the man charged June 22 was not in possession of an ID and told officers he was Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr., and provided a date of birth and Social Security number. 

Virginia police said Tuesday the officers verified the data provided to them through the DMV and compared a DMV photo of Whitehead with the person in custody.

"Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided," the department said Tuesday in a prepared statement. "At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation."

The confirmation came a day too late. When asked about Whitehead's departure Monday afternoon, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said they made a decision to release him after talking with him about the incident that morning.

In a phone call with NBC 5 Tuesday, Whitehead said he repeatedly told the team he didn't commit the crime, wasn't arrested and that the incident didn't happen.

"To accuse me of shoptlifting, and I'm trying to give you my word ... I'm telling you, I'm giving you facts that I was not even in the state," Whitehead said. "I was put on an island by myself. It hurts. I'm human. I read stuff. I don't think I got the support that I needed from the person I needed it from when this was going down."

Garrett said Monday that cutting Whitehead was good for the team and "hopefully good for him going forward." He added that he hoped the decision to release Whitehead was "a little bit of a wakeup call to handle these situations the right way."

"I dont know if it was a lesson, because I didn't do nothing," Whitehead told NBC 5 Tuesday. "A lot of people turned their back on me. I'm just glad the truth came out."

The Dallas Cowboys have not issued a formal statement, but during Tuesday's news conference at Training Camp Garrett said the team is standing by their decision.

Virginia police said they are currently looking for the person who impersonated Whitehead and have cleared him in the case.

"Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation," the department said. "The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family."

Whitehead was in the news last week when he said he returned to his Dallas home to find out his dog was being held for ransom. The situation was resolved after Whitehead told NBC 5 the dog was returned to him, without payment.

NBC 5's Vanessa Brown contributed to this report.

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