Let me make this perfectly clear, Yáo Míng is not accused of stealing a really expensive watch from the South Coast Plaza Rolex store.
Or, put another way, the Houston Rockets center, tallest player in the NBA and highest-paid celebrity for six years running in China is not Shiji Chen.
But you would be forgiven for making those mistakes based on the shot of Yáo on the left and the Costa Mesa Police Department booking photo of Chen on the right.
Check that: it's Chen on the left, Yáo on the right.
Two men described as well dressed Asians who spoke Chinese to one another walked into the Rolex store at the upscale Costa Mesa mall on Nov. 18 and asked to look at watches. It is believed a white man and a black man inside the store distracted employees, for it was discovered a very expensive watch and the Asians had disappeared. Descriptions culled from witnesses and surveillance cameras were then sent out by Rolex to its other stores.
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Ten days later in San Francisco, police arrested a man believed to be one of two would-be thieves of a rare Rolex watch and valuable diamond ring from two Union Square jewelry stores. The other suspect got away before SFPD units arrived.
The Bay Area cops then contacted the Costa Mesa Police Department to alert them that 41-year-old Chinese national Chen may be their man, too. Local detectives subsequently took Chen into custody, hauled him back to Santa Ana and booked him into Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Police say Chen had on him at the time of his initial SFPD arrest several international currencies from Asia, Europe and Saudi Arabia, and numerous international identifications and documents indicating travel throughout the U.S.
Hey, doesn't Yao also move from city to city in the U.S.? The plot thickens . . .