Robbery suspect in clown pants easy catch for police
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It didn't take a lot of great detective work for Swissvale police to find and arrest a North Braddock man charged with robbing a Citizens Bank branch Saturday morning.
Police Chief Greg Geppert said officers arrested Dennis Hawkins, 48, of North Braddock as he sat in a parked car at a service station at Washington Street and Monongahela Avenue wearing an outlandish disguise and covered in red dye that exploded all over him when he tried to open the money he took from the bank.
Chief Geppert gave these details of the incident:
Mr. Hawkins first drew attention at the Giant Eagle supermarket in Edgewood Towne Centre. He described him as a black man with facial hair who was wearing a female blonde wig, a sweater with fake breasts under it and clown pants.
He left the supermarket and went to the Kmart store at the shopping center, where surveillance cameras later showed him shoplifting a BB gun.
He then went to the bank a couple of blocks away on McCague Street, entered and sat down in the waiting area. He initially turned down a teller who offered to help him, saying he was waiting for someone else to arrive, then later approached her and robbed her at gunpoint.
Bank cameras showed he went to a tree behind the bank, opened the money envelope and dropped it and some of the money when the dye pack exploded.
He ran a couple of blocks to the service station, where he approached several customers and asked for a ride. When they refused, he got into the car of another woman, who got out, took her keys with her and went inside to call police.
Officers on their way to the bank robbery call went to the station and arrested him while he waited in the car. He had dye on him, the wig stuffed in the waist of his pants and was still wearing the fake breasts.
Chief Geppert said Mr. Hawkins told police he had found the money and took them back to the tree where the dye exploded.
Mr. Hawkins is being held at the Allegheny County Jail on bank robbery and other charges.
"He'd be my candidate for America's dumbest criminal," Chief Geppert said.
First Published July 26, 2010 12:00 am