VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - The San Diego Sheriff’s department has apologized to the Vista resident who was pictured among a series of burglary suspects in a press release.
A photo of Ike Iloputaife walking his two Russian Wolfhounds is next to ‘Suspect #2’ in a May Crimestoppers press release for a string of break-ins near Monte Vista Dr. in Vista.
The image was taken May 22 by a resident and unbeknownst to Iloputaife, the burglaries were committed several hours later that day.
Iloputaife was out of town for his Birthday when the flier was shared around the neighborhood and a neighbor told him he was on it.
“This is from something that is supposed to be so benign,” said Iloputaife, “it’s not supposed to happen and that’s what kept me up.”
The Nigerian-born engineer says he has had nightmares of hypothetical encounters with authorities and he has been anxious about walking his dogs ever since this occurred.
“I was apprehensive about going out because I didn’t want people to look at me as a possible suspect, said Iloputaife, “and even if they didn’t look at me as a possible suspect — to look at me with pity, I don’t want that.”
He has been hounding law enforcement and local media to remove his photo from the release that was sent around the county in late May.
Deputies have since updated the release, removing his image. A San Diego Sheriff’s Department spokesperson issued the following statement to 10News:
“Regarding the case with Mr. Ike Iloputaife, a still photograph was taken from a distance by a neighbor while he was walking his dogs on May 16, 2018. The neighbor did not know the subject, later identified as Mr. Iloputaife, and believed the man could have been related to a recent residential burglary. The photograph was collected and turned over to the assigned detective, who attempted to ascertain who the subject was and whether or not the subject was connected to the burglary.
On May 22, 2018, a bulletin was created and released via Crime Stoppers, an external entity, regarding the case. The bulletin showed stills captured from video surveillance footage during the burglary, as well as the photograph of Mr. Iloputaife walking his dogs. At this point, the photograph of Mr. Iloputaife as displayed was tagged with the caption, "Possibly Related" given we did not know his identity or affiliation to the case, if any.
Mr. Iloputaife contacted the detective investigating the burglary on May 29, 2018, to discuss the case. He explained he was contacted by one of his neighbors regarding the bulletin and was concerned he would be labeled a suspect and contacted by law enforcement unnecessarily. As a result of their conversation, it was determined Mr. Iloputaife was completely unrelated to the burglary. He was told that the photograph would be removed from the bulletin before it was reposted. Steps were taken to remove the original bulletin from its various posted locations; however, an error was made and a copy of the bulletin remained posted on the Crime Stoppers internet page until yesterday afternoon. It has since been removed from locations we control.While there was an initial delay in responding to Mr. Iloputaife's calls due to the assigned detective being out of town, another detective was eventually forwarded a message to contact Mr. Iloputaife once he contacted the station.
While we understand this caused unnecessary strife for Mr. Iloputaife, it was not done intentionally nor with any malintent. We are sorry for any strife this may have caused Mr. Iloputaife and have begun working on steps to streamline this process to avoid a similar oversight in the future.”
The 55-year-old smiles at the prospect of a burglar casing a neighborhood with two extremely rare and identifiable dogs.
“I understand they are are trying to keep the neighborhood safe and catch the people, Iloputaife, “however, I’m also a part of the neighborhood and I need to be kept safe. I don’t need to be sacrificed for the sake of the rest of the people.”