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Dumb Disguises

Some dumb criminals are distinguished not by their actions, alibis or choice of targets, but rather by the disguises they choose. Whether ineffective, painful or simply incredibly stupid, dumb disguises are aplenty.

Take the Duct Tape Bandit of Kentucky, for example. Kasey Kazee wrapped his entire head in duct tape before attempting to rob a liquor store in 2007. The robbery was unsuccessful, as were his protests that he was not the Duct Tape Bandit…to the very police officers who had witnessed the removal of the tape from his head.

Another criminal obviously hit by the stupid stick was New Hampshire resident James Coldwell. Perhaps inspired by movies such as Evil Dead, in which trees come to life, Coldwell attached leaves and sticks to his body and head to impersonate a tree before committing the robbery in 2007. He was identified via anonymous tip after police made the surveillance footage public, and was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of robbery.

Plastic bags are great for bringing home groceries and recycling as bathroom trash bags. But they are also a surprisingly popular choice for disguises, despite the warnings about suffocation printed on each. An unidentified robber in Phoenix, AZ nearly suffocated when robbing a Circle K gas station in 2010 after the plastic bag he had over his head restricted his breathing. The robber had to rip the bag partially off to continue his heist.

California man David Brian Mattson is reportedly a fan of the plastic bag disguise as well. Police say he put a plastic bag over his head and attempted to rob several places of business in 2010, including a Wendy’s -- at the drive-through, no less -- before succeeding in robbing a gas station. With police cars in the parking lot. Mattson, 48, pleaded not guilty to 13 counts, including 12 counts of attempted robbery and one of robbery. His case is still pending.

Another popular disguise among robbers is underwear. This rather makes your Crime Editor think of the scene in Revenge of the Nerds where the athlete puts his jock strap on Takashi’s head. But robberies have been reported in several states, including West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma, as well as in the UK, in which the criminal donned panties as a disguise. Thong underwear seems to be the most popular in these cases, apparently for its triangular shape.

While the surveillance footage of these robberies can make for a good laugh, the sheer stupidity of the disguises leaves you to wonder, “What were they THINKING?”

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