Pat Hickey, a writer for the Montreal Gazette, said Thursday he had found the man who allegedly vandalized his car while he was covering Game One of the Flyers-Canadiens playoff series at the Wachovia Center Sunday night.
However, the person who was initially thought to be the alleged culprit says it's merely a case of an unfortunate choice of a photo on his Facebook page.
Hickey believed he found on Facebook the person who allegedly vandalized his car - and that the person was displaying his Quebec license plate that was stolen. Hickey did not identify the culprit but according to Flyers team source, Dan Flannery was the person bragging about damaging Hickey's car on Facebook.
However, Flannery, when reached at his job in Bensalem, says he was not involved in vandalizing the Montreal writer's car. Flannery says he found the photo online and thought it was humorous; he has since taken it down.
"It thought it was funny but now it's started getting out of control so I said, 'Wait a minute,'" Flannery said.
Flannery is a Flyers fan but says he was not at the game at the Wachovia Center the night Hickey's car was vandalized and the Quebec license plate was stolen.
Flannery said a friend alerted him to a news report that linked him to the car vandalizing. "It said they found the person that did it but they really didn't because it wasn't me."
He admitted he posted a photo of Hickey's license plate on his Facebook page, but said he did not vandalize the car. "I know who did it," he said. He would not be specific and said he planned to call the police this afternoon.
Flannery said he received a call at work from "a French Canadian who was cursing me out," and that he wants to clear his name. "They think I did it because the post was linked to me," he said, "but I didn't do it."
Meanwhile, Hickey said the Flyers were "ecstatic" when he told them he had found the man and that they would pursue the matter.
Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said he would turn over the name of the suspect to the Philadelphia police and let them pursue it. Flannery said he had not been contacted by police as of late Thursday afternoon.
"Our fans are very enthusiastic, but this was something we never want to see," Luuko said. "This was something totally unnecessary."
Driving from Philadelpha to Montreal, Hickey said he didn't have problems crossing the U.S.-Canadian line without license plates because he knew the patrolmen working the border.
Believing the alleged person responsible for the damage had been found, Hickey said he would not press charges - he estimated there was about $1,000 in damages - as long as the person made a public apology and donated $1,000 to a Philadelphia charity.