Just as the live "American Idol" elimination rounds are cranking up, a former "Idol" finalist, season-seven 10th-place finisher Chikezie Eze, was arrested in Beverly Hills on Thursday night at a Neiman Marcus, where he was busted on felony identity-theft charges.
Sergeant Renato Moreno of the Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed the arrest and told MTV News that Eze was recognized by a sales associate at the upscale retailer and detained by store security when he allegedly tried to use "fraudulent means" to pay for a purchase. Renato could not specify what those alleged fraudulent means were because of the ongoing investigation, but said the phrase was a "catch-all for anybody trying to use the personal identifying information of another person to obtain goods, services or credit." That could mean the attempted use of a fraudulent check, someone else's credit card, a forged check or an application for credit using false identification.
Eze, 24, a Los Angeles resident, was detained by store security until the Beverly Hills police arrived shortly after 9 p.m., when he was arrested and taken to Beverly Hills jail and booked on felony identity theft charges. According to Renato, the singer, who made his mark on "Idol" with his smooth, soulful vocals and winning smile, was released on $50,000 bail shortly after 5 a.m. PT on Friday (February 26). It was not known at press time when Eze will be in court to face the charges.
MTV News was unable to reach Eze for comment at press time.