Thomas Crown blagger recruits decoy dupes on internet

Identi-dress Craigslist flashmob caper foils plods

A crafty bank robber in America made a Thomas Crown style escape from the scene of his crime by recruiting a crowd of unsuspecting identically-dressed accomplices on the internet.

King5.com reports that the well-organised villain struck as an armoured van was picking up cash from the a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Washington. Wearing a dust mask, safety goggles, dayglo vest and a blue shirt, he pepper-sprayed a security guard and grabbed a bag of cash before fleeing briskly.

Responding plods were hampered in their pursuit by the fact that a dozen other dayglo-vested, masked, goggled and blue-shirted men had congregated in the vicinity - just as the legion of bowler-hatted suits assembled in New York's Metropolitan museum in the latest Thomas Crown film fatally embugger the authorities' efforts to bracelet the eponymous billionaire blagger.

In this case, it appears that the anonymous miscreant recruited his unsuspecting dupes on Craigslist.

King5.com quotes one of them, named "Mike", as saying "I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour."

The ad purported to be hiring workers for a road maintenance job. After responding, Mike was emailed instructions to turn up at the bank wearing vest, goggles, mask "and, if possible, a blue shirt," he said.

The cheeky crook made good his escape under cover of the unsuspecting wouldbe road crew flashmob, and apparently exited the town by water - floating down the Skykomish River in an inner tube stashed earlier by a creek.

Monroe cops probing the caper confess themselves baffled, and have called in federal assistance to help them backtrace the Craigslist ad and emails. ®

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