An Ethiopian man wears a white mask to commit string of robberies

Oliver Wheaton for


Teklie, and his latex mask (Picture Edmonton Police Department)

A crime spree had an unusual conclusion recently after the perpetrator was caught and revealed to be wearing a mask in an attempt to hide his identity (and ethnicity).

Last year Solomon Zemichael Teklie donned his disguise, before car-jacking a woman, robbing two banks, and finally being pulled over and arrested all in the space of 37 minutes.

However in a classic Scooby-Doo ending, when the officers removed his mask, they realised they weren’t chasing a bald white male, as they had believed, but rather a 40-year-old black man from Ethiopia.

The crime spree took place in Edmonton, Canada, and Teklie used his mask and a pellet gun to steal the car, and $1,100 (£723) in total from the banks.

The police and his victims were fooled by the mask (Picture: Edmonton Police Department)
The police and his victims were fooled by the mask (Picture: Edmonton Police Department)

Edmonton crown prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey said: ‘I don’t know where this mask was made, I don’t know where it came from, but it’s uncanny how much it looks like a real person.

‘It was so realistic that each witness on this file thought that Mr. Teklie was white. He is not white.’

Tellers at the bank mentioned that they thought the gunman’s skin was ‘damaged’, but nobody realised it was in fact a mask.

Teklie pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, and said: ‘I’m truly sorry for my actions. That’s all I can say.’

He will be sentenced at a later date.

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