Cardboard Criminals, or, Paper Perpetrators

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On December 3, authorities in Reading, Pennsylvania, reported that a man disguised as a paper plate tried to rob a local gas station.  According to a report in the Morning Call, "[t]he caper began near Reading when a man wearing a paper plate over his face emerged out of the frost-filled darkness around 3:15 am," and stood outside the front door of a Sunoco station.  (The report didn't say whether he had cut eyeholes in the plate, but I assume he did.)  When the man came inside, "the suspicious clerk informed him that he had to remove his paper mask before she could serve him."  He mumbled something and gave her a note demanding money, but the clerk hit the alarm button instead "and told Plate Face the police were on their way."  Plate Face ran off, disappearing back into the frost-filled darkness.

Just the week before, in New Jersey, police had engaged in a tense 90-minute standoff with what turned out to be a criminal made entirely of paper.  Police responded to an alarm at a bank in Somerset County on November 27, at about 8:40 p.m., and saw someone standing behind the drawn blinds of one of the bank's windows.  They called in a SWAT team, sealed off the area, and evacuated three nearby apartment buildings.  Officers then tried for some time to negotiate with the person holed up in the bank, first through bullhorns and then by phone.  When he stubbornly refused to respond — or even move — police sent in the SWAT team, only then finding "to their chagrin" that they had been held at bay for an hour and a half by a life-size and entirely motionless cardboard cutout.

After spending about two tenths of an hour trying to decide between two alternative titles for this post, I'm going to give up and just offer you both of them.

Link: The Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
Link: New Jersey Star-Ledger