Robbers wearing markered disguises

 Cnn 2009 Crime 10 29 Iowa.Marker.Disguise T1Larg.Mugshots.Carroll.Pd These gentlemen attempted to rob a Carroll, Iowa home while disguised with, er, Sharpie marker. Police responded to a call and spotted the getaway car driven by Matthew Allan McNelly, 23, and Joey Lee Miller, 20. The guy on the right has the Clockwork Orange eye happening and, as Rob says, the man on the left looks vaguely like Catwoman. Or is it Gene Simmons?

From CNN:
"We're very skilled investigators and the black faces gave them right away," (police chief Jeff) Cayler said jokingly. "I have to assume the officers were kind of laughing at the time. I've never heard of coloring your face with a permanent marker..."

"I've been chief here almost 25 years, been with the department 28½ years and I've seen a lot of things that make me laugh and weird things but this was probably the best combination of the two -- strangely weird and hilariously funny all at the same time."
"They make their mark in mug shot history"



  1. I lived in Iowa, and I would just like to say in Iowa’s defense: Most of our robbers aren’t this dumb.

  2. When interview separately afterward, both men were quoted as saying…

    “But I TOLD him it was a bad idea!”

  3. “We’re very skilled investigators …” (police chief Jeff) Cayler said jokingly.

    Yes, we got the joke.

    (Seriously though, how many cases such as this end up solved far more on account of the crooks being so much more overwhelmingly stupid than the cops than due to any other factor?)

  4. Oddly, they represent two of the major subgroups of nerds*: chubby and bearded, scrawny and not. I assume the break-in involved some guy’s comic book collection.

    *There’s also the sub-group “girls”. Sighting are rare. They’re the bigfoot of NerdWorld.

  5. In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o’clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. “But I wore the juice,” he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras.

  6. Sharpies come off the skin beautifully with something as simple as a baby wipe. We use them for LARPing NPCs all the time. The mistake these two yahoos made was not that the Sharpie wouldn’t come off but that it doesn’t hide their identity.

  7. “The black faces gave them right away”

    If that’s not racial profiling, I don’t know what is.

  8. The Wolf: You guys look like… What do they look like, Jimmie?
    Jimmie: Dorks. They look like a couple of dorks.

  9. For those who may not have noticed, in addition to the Clockwork Orange eye, Scrawny Robber has a cute little star on his cheek. Maybe Tubby Robber wanted to be Catwoman, but I think Scrawny Robber wanted to be Jem.

  10. None of the articles I’ve seen answer the most important detail of this case: Was the chunkier guy consciously trying to be one of the “Sons of Batman” from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, or was he just drawing a generic bat symbol?

  11. I can just imagine them coming up with this, probably while high:

    Dude, those black masks that bank robbers wear… that’s no different than just drawing black ink on your face! Oh My God, why hasn’t anyone else thought of this??? We’re GENIUSES!

  12. The world is different place today than when I was that age. Back then, dumbasses got smeared in there hometowns. Now you’re smeared globally. Glad I was born sooner than later. I gotta admit: was a dumbass too back then.

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