Pennsylvania robber's custom-made mask brings swift arrest

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 03, 2014 11:16 AM

(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man's plan to disguise himself while robbing a post office and bank by wearing a high-end theatrical mask backfired when investigators were able to track him down through the mask maker.

Blair Thomas, 29, entered a post office in Darby, Pennsylvania, on January 23, pulled out a handgun and demanded $10,000 in money orders. The clerk declined to print them and noticed the suspect had a white-skinned face but black stomach, according to papers filed in federal court.

Investigators determined that the suspect, who they said in court papers later confessed, was wearing a "Raj" mask, featuring a heavy black mustache and curly black hair, made by New Hampshire mask maker Oneail FX.

Artist Jeremy Oneail, 41, said he was easily able to track down the buyer's information when contacted by authorities since he had made only six such masks and Thomas had used his real name and address to place the order.

Thomas has also been charged with robbing a bank in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 22 and is due to be indicted on both robberies this week.

Oneail, whose masks are used in haunted houses, theme parks and online videos, said he was amused that Thomas' attempts to disguise himself with a $400 bespoke mask backfired.

"It's fairly hilarious," Oneail said in a phone interview on Monday.

"If you are going to try to disguise yourself, there are a lot cheaper ways to do it."

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Grant McCool)