A Toms River, N.J., man who bears a resemblance to Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain is facing charges of theft by deception and disorderly conduct for allegedly accepting free food and signing autographs under the guise that he is the Yankees pitcher.
Ryan Ward, 30, could face up to a year in jail if convicted. He’s charged with scamming a bagel shop out of free food last summer after allegedly telling an employee, “Do you know who I am?’’ and pointing to a photo of Chamberlain in a newspaper. Police say he also signed autographs and promised women free Yankee tickets. He also represented himself as Chamberlain in other businesses in Belmar and Spring Lake, and was banned from a few local bars because of it.
Ward has denied the charges, telling the Asbury Park Press, “You can’t have fun anymore, can you?’’ His attorney, Constantine Bardis, called the charges against Ward a “tragedy,” saying her client just “goofed around because he kind of looks like the guy.’’
Ward’s municipal court trial is scheduled for Feb. 11.