by BJW Nashe

These days, if you’re going to start robbing banks or convenience stores, you need to put some effort into personal style and fashion. You are certain to be caught on surveillance video at some point during your escapades. Soon your appearance will be on the Internet for all to see–much like celebrities who grace the red carpets of awards shows. So there’s no excuse to neglect the fashion component of your criminal activity.

Lately we have seen criminals exploring a wide variety of styles — from glamorous cross-dressing to casual grunge to silly disguises — with varying degrees of success. No matter what, they have definitely been turning heads at the FBI. Here are some notable examples:

Green Dress RobberOn May 20, a woman robbed a bank in Stuart, Iowa while wearing a striking green gown described as a “mullet dress,” since it’s short in front and long in the back. Surveillance footage shows that the slim, 5’4“ woman had long, dark reddish-brown hair, and carried a handbag slung over her shoulder. Authorities are still trying to figure out if the suspect is an actual woman, or a transvestite. Either way, all agree that as a pure fashion statement, this robbery was a big success.

Stretchy Pants BanditLeonard Brown Jr., known by police as the “Stretchy Pants Bandit,” was caught on camera robbing a bank in Ceres, California in September 2012. His ensemble included a dark wig and women’s “flashdance-style” aerobics clothing. No one doubts that this was a large black man dressed as a female. And RuPaul doesn’t have anything to worry about, in terms of being upstaged by “Ms. Brown.”


According to the FBI, a woman known as the “Plain Jane Bandit” has robbed seven banks in Southern California since July 2012. She earned her nickname by pulling jobs without any makeup, and usually wearing sweats, with no hairstyle to speak of. Sometimes in the world of crime, “non-style” is a style in itself.

AK-47 BanditThe “AK-47 Bandit” is a traditionalist. In 2012 he hit one bank in North Bend, Washington and then another in Chino, California. This past March, he managed to shoot and wound a police officer while robbing a bank in Vacaville. He tends to wear a black ski-mask, dark earth-toned shirts and trousers, and always carries an AK-47 assault rifle. It is a forceful, functional look that works well in any bank robbery.



Colton Harris-Moore, known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” led police on a two-year crime spree involving stolen cars, boats, and planes. For obvious reasons, he wasn’t shoplifting any shoes. Perhaps his barefoot antics indicated a willingness to dispense with clothing altogether, and head in the direction of fully nude crimes. We’ll never know, however, since Harris-Moore was eventually captured, and is now reduced to wearing flip-flops in a Washington State prison.

In July 2010 a man was caught on camera robbing a New York City bank while carrying a large bouquet of flowers. The note he reportedly handed over to bank personnel demanded cash, and stated, “Don’t be a hero.” The flowers, by all accounts, smelled lovely, and added an element of mystery and romance to the crime.

Buxom bandit2In Australia, a woman known as the “Buxom Bandit” was caught on camera with a male companion holding up a gas station with a knife. She earned her nickname for two obvious reasons, which were barely covered by the plunging neckline of her top. If you got it, flaunt it–especially when it comes to armed robbery.



Geezer Bandit2 The “Geezer Bandit” looks like an 85 year-old man as he shuffles up to the bank teller and demands cash. His wrinkled face is partially obscured by sunglasses and a baseball cap, though. After his most recent robbery in California, he was seen sprinting across the parking lot. The authorities think the geezer look might be a disguise.


fat clown robber2The “Fat Clown Robber” in Redding, California became an Internet sensation in late March when security cameras videotaped his botched attempt to bust into a convenience store in the middle of the night. The huge gut, stocking cap, and colorful pajama bottoms are a sure way to make a spectacle out of yourself during any crime. And if you fall flat on your face when trying to make your getaway, you will no doubt gain some “fans.”

So there you have it. Any wannabe armed robbers out there might want to take this lesson to heart. If you’re going to stick up a bank or a gas station or a convenience store, your “look” matters. The cameras will be rolling. Soon the cops will give you a nickname. Then the fashionistas will start weighing in. It may be your last chance to make a statement, before you end up in a faded prison jumpsuit.



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