'Darth Raider': NY police hunt armed robber 'dressed as Star Wars character' An armed robber is being hunted by police after dressing as the Star Wars movie character Darth Vader during a bizarre raid on a New York bank in broad daylight.
23 Jul 2010
Police said the bandit entered the Chase bank branch on Long Island at 11.30am Thursday, brandishing a semi-automatic pistol before demanding money from staff. CCTV footage released by police showed the 6ft 2in gunman dressed as the Star Wars bad guy, with a costume complete with mask, dark cape and camouflage trousers.
Customers and bank staff initially thought the raid was a joke, with one witness thinking the costume was so amusing he starting joking with the bandit. “The customer thought it might have been a joke and not a serious attempt at a robbery,” William Lamb, a Suffolk County Detective Sergeant, told the New York Daily News. But they quickly realised the bandit was serious after he shouted “this is not a joke”, and reportedly becoming involved in a "shoving match" with an onlooker. He then pointed his gun at customers as he ordered them to the floor. He escaped on a motorbike from the Setauket branch with an undisclosed amount of cash stuffed in a bag, which featured a New York Yankees logo. He assaulted another customer who tried to stop him leaving the bank.
Michael Aloisio, who works at another nearby restaurant, told the New York Post: “I thought it was pretty comical, but I guess this guy was pretty serious about needing some money. I always liked 'Star Wars,' but I never liked Darth Vader.”
The robber was still on the run on Friday. Police admitted it would be difficult to track the gunman because he did not take off his mask at any stage during the bizarre robbery. Detective Lamb said bank management were still checking to see how much money was taken. A spokesman for the bank was unavailable for comment.
News of the raid sparked dozens of puns on the hugely successful Hollywood franchise. Some hoped the “Force would be be with him” shortly after he entered “the dark side”. "The jokes are starting already," one police source told the Post. "The one where he's back up in the Death Star is the best so far."
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