“In almost 40 years in law enforcement, this was the first time I ever remember a person going into a bank with blackface on,” Police Chief Allen Miller said.
“This is a first for me in my career.”
The heist took place at the PNC Bank in Perryville. The teller who was robbed initially described the suspect as black. A review of the footage of the incident, however, identified the suspect as a white man as the skin around his white gloved hand and jacket sleeve gave him up.
“You could see that he was not a black male,” Miller said. “He had obviously covered his face in black something. I don’t know if it was makeup or what. We’re still investigating.”
The incident reportedly occurred after midday and there wasn’t any injury.
“He walks up to the teller and he presents the teller with a note, and the note basically said, ‘Hey, I want all your money. Don’t give me a moneybag. I want all the money in the drawer,” Miller told ABC News.
He added: “He scooped up the money and left. It took about 15 to 20 seconds total for this to happen. No weapon was displayed nor insinuated.”
The suspect, who bolted in a gray car, is described by investigators to be about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds.
This phenomenon of white suspects using blackface to commit crimes is nothing new.
In 2018, a 26-year-old white man, Cameron James Kennedy, was charged with robbery after holding up a casino in Las Vegas wearing a blackface to appear black.
In the early morning of January 10, Kennedy showed a cashier a handgun that was tucked in his waistband during the robbery at the New York-New York Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
“I want all your hundreds, and don’t mess around,” he told the cashier before leaving the casino in a taxi with more than $23,000, according to the complaint.
The police said the cashier noticed Kennedy was not black because his skin tone was “off” and “blotchy” as he used makeup to appear black.
Kennedy, who was already under federal supervision on prior bank robbery charges, was arrested on January 25 after phone records placed him near where the robber was dropped off from the taxi on the morning of the robbery.
Some few years ago also, a white man, Conrad Zdzierak, robbed several Ohio banks wearing a hyper-realistic mask of a black man he ordered from Hollywood mask-making company SPFXMasks. He also ordered a matching set of black hands which he used to rob the banks.
An innocent black man was arrested for Zdzierak’s crimes and was identified falsely in a lineup by six of seven eyewitnesses including his mother after watching the surveillance footage of the crime.
He was jailed, until after some months when the actual bank robber’s girlfriend called the police after finding the mask and a huge sum of money.