There have been many notable, somewhat entertaining, costumes that have been worn by criminals in order to disguise their true identity. Some are as simple as a mask, while others are a bit more creative. A 67-year-old woman, Irene Leonhard, of the Village of Country Club Hills in Florida decided that she would be least recognized while attempting to steal merchandise from the department store chain, Belk, at La Plaza Grande dressed as a turkey. Perhaps, too, she was simply feeling festive given the upcoming holiday.
As part of her costume, Leonhard was carrying a blue mesh bag and a small brown purse when she entered the retail outlet. She first selected a Michael Kors handbag, removed the tissue paper from the inside and placed it into her own bag. After this item was successfully hidden from view, the woman continued to place others into the bag and eventually left Belk with her loot – more than $1000 in merchandise. More specifically, Leonhard had stolen eleven items from the retailer totaling $1,497.99, according to her arrest report.
Of course, it’s hard to remain entirely undetected when one is wearing a turkey disguise. Employees noticed the woman as soon as she entered and were eyeballing the turkey’s every move. Leonhard probably would have had it much easier had she decided to go through with her plan undisguised. Leonhard was apprehended and charged with grand theft. She was then booked at the Lake County Jail on $5,000 bond, without the protection of her turkey suit.
Other festive criminals have worn holiday related disguises to carry about their dirty deeds. A Santa Claus was caught on videotape robbing a Memphis bank back in 2015 after passing out candy canes. This individual was never identified.
Two men were also arrested in New York after they were noticed by residents sporting an Easter Bunny head and taking random photographs around town. Some residents jumped to the conclusion that the strange behavior meant the men were parading around town dressed as the holiday icon in order to rob banks. A rumor quickly spread that they were likely peering into the windows of the local establishments.
An all-points bulletin was issued by police officers soon after the sighting. They were described as at large, potentially armed and dangerous. The two were apprehended on suspicion of criminal activity.
Turns out, the claims of mischievous behavior made by those who spotted them were little more than a result of an overactive imagination. The two explained to officers that they had only been traveling around taking pictures of themselves dressed as the bunny to document their journey in a creative way.
The judge assigned to the case pointed out, robbers casing a bank probably would not choose to wear a 2-foot-high bunny head featuring “enormous pink ears.” He added, “Generally, stealth is preferred when engaging in such activity.”
After just a few couple of hours in custody, the men were released, and everybody had a good laugh. That was until they sued for $2.1 million and won their case.
Regardless, deciding to dress in a festive disguise is a bit strange. Suspicion warranted.