Social media users pointed out the likeness to character Ross Geller after officers in Blackpool posted an image of a man leaving a restaurant and carrying what appeared to be a carton of cans.
He wrote in an accompanying post: "Officers, I swear it wasn't me".
The case went viral shortly after Lancashire constabulary posted an image of the suspect who was wanted over the theft of a jacket, mobile phone and wallet.
Eventually the public appeal proved successful for Blackpool Police, who continued the joke while confirming the arrest on Twitter.
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Thanks to our colleagues @MetPoliceUK, a 36-year-old man was arrested in Southall last night on suspicion of theft.
Blackpool Police's original post, which has since been deleted, had been swamped with replies highlighting the suspect's resemblance to Ross. With a tweet of their own, they thanked the sitcom star "for being there for us", - a rather oblique reference to the lyrics of the Friends theme song.
People were quick to point out the similarities between the Schwimmer and the suspected thief in response to the police Facebook appeal.
The police update did not say whether the suspect had mastered the art of unagi, or the state of total awareness. "We have investigated this matter thoroughly and have confirmed that David Schwimmer was in America on this date".