A man (who apparently received oodles of bandannas and dark clothing for Christmas) is suspected of robbing two fast-food joints in Pennsylvania the same morning. Both robberies occurred during the early hours of December 31.
According to CBS News 21, the suspect first hit a Wendy's shortly after 6 a.m. on the day in question. There was one employee inside the locked restaurant. She heard glass break and was soon confronted by a man who demanded that she hand over money from the restaurant's safe. The suspect fled on foot.
The Wendy's employee described the suspect as a black male, standing 5'8" to 5'9" tall, dressed in a black fleece hooded jacket, black pants, and black shoes. According to the eyewitness, the suspect had the hood of his jacket pulled over his head and wore a yellow bandanna covering the lower part of his face. (See a picture of the robber here.)
About a half-hour later, a Burger King (whose headquarters are located in Miami) was robbed by a man wearing a black fleece hooded jacket, dark pants, and -- two bandannas covering his face -- one black, one white. Is anyone else thinking, Hamburglar?
Long ago I would have been incredulous that someone would commit a crime on a date celebrated by most Americans as a holiday. And although committing a robbery on New Year's Eve is nowhere near as low as committing one Christmas Eve, the day before New Year's is still a day when people are occupied with plans to spend time with family and friends, looking forward to a better year ahead.
However, as I said, my naiveté was cut short by a slice from the knife called reality. About 15 years ago, I found out that criminals purposely make plans to rob, steal, and so on during holidays because are people are less mindful of their surroundings.
The manner in which I became privy to this knowledge is simple -- the cops told me. This was after a group of my girlfriends and I were robbed at machete- and BB-gunpoint outside a Denny's restaurant Christmas Day.
Yes, you read correctly. We were held up by two guys -- one yielding a machete and one brandishing a BB gun. Our pockets full of Christmas money and some of us sporting brand-new beepers we had gotten as presents, we were asked to lie on the ground in the Denny's parking lot and hand over our valuables.
While my friends and then-girlfriend all dropped, I couldn't get over the audacity of these two thugs. "Are you fucking kidding me?" I asked over and over again, refusing to get on the ground.
My girlfriend pleaded with me and pulled at my wrist until I eventually dropped to my knees. At the time, my exasperation had more to do with the fact that these two losers were robbing a group of teenage girls on Christmas.
As time wore on and the lenses in my rose-colored glasses grew cracks, I became enraged about the fact that they had the audacity to rob us with a machete and a BB gun instead of "real" weapons. "We could have taken them, bro!" I remember saying, ignorant and brazen at the ripe old age of 19.
The march of time works its magic to derail our idealistic attitudes. About a decade after that robbery, I was held up inside Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti. Two men came in, one brandishing what appeared to be an assault rifle, and not only robbed the bar but also demanded money and cell phones from the eight or so of us who had remained after hours.
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This time around, my body hit the floor faster than a reality TV star loses his fame and fortune. I handed over my money and asked no questions. I just wanted it to be over with.
So the moral of the story is that anyone is capable of doing anything at anytime. Be on the lookout during the holidays. And if you see anyone resembling the Hamburglar, run, don't walk, to your nearest Taco Bell.