This is the libel-proof way of really saying "we think this guy is a suspect
but we don't yet have probable cause and we want to talk to him and hope he's stupid enough to confess and make our case." But, for some reason, they choose not to come out and say that the person is a "suspect
" that they would arrest on sight.
Person of interest means we don't have enough to arrest; suspect
means we do.
Chief Smith said: "Witnesses described a bald white male with a 'wifebeater
' shirt as being at the scene of the crime. He is a person of interest in this case and we would like to talk to him."