Geezer Bandit: How do you catch a master of disguise? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Geezer Bandit: How do you catch a master of disguise?

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(CBS 8) - Police are working hard to catch the so-called "Geezer Bandit", but somehow he always manages to slip away. His get-up could actually be a special effects Hollywood mask. News 8 takes a look at a Midwest robbery spree which has virtually the same elements.

After our special report on the so-called "elder mask", dozens of News 8 viewers were asking how law enforcement officials are going to finally track down the Geezer Bandit.

For nearly a year, three local law enforcement agencies haven't been able to catch the Geezer Bandit. The suspect, who has robbed 10 banks, may actually be a master of disguise -- a younger person wearing a lifelike silicone "Elder Man" mask like the one produced by Hollywood special effects company SPFX Masks.

"I've probably sold 100 Elders. We've been in contact with law enforcement, but that's about as far as I can say at this time. I hope to God it is not our mask," Rusty Slusser of SPFX Masks Inc. said.

Slusser has spoken to San Diego police about his product, but will not say if he's sold any to San Diegans since last August.

Unfortunately, another one of his other masks, "The Player", fell into the wrong hands in late April. Ohio police recently captured a wily white bank robber who threw them off the trail by disguising himself with Rusty Slusser's African-American mask. Thirty-year-old Conrad Zerdiak held up four banks while wearing the incredible mask, then took if off as he drove to his next target.

"It was a twist. I've been doing this for almost 25 years now and I've never seen anything as lifelike and realistic as the kind of mask (Zerdiak) was wearing," Springfield Police Department Lt. Michael Mathis said.

So how did police catch the Poland native? They traced his getaway car to a hotel near Cincinnati after receiving a tip from Crime Stoppers.

"It was dark-colored and trailing a red mist, and we knew that in that bank robbery a die pack had been given to the suspect," Lt. Mathis said.

Investigators also found the SPFX mask inside the suspect's room, along with clothing he was wearing during the robberies.

So what's it going to take for San Diego law enforcement officials to finally nab the Geezer Bandit?

"Every bad guy eventually makes a mistake, and you're going to get something, whether it's some type of evidence that this time he leaves behind," Lt. Mathis said.

Lieutenant Mathis also says the community has more eyes and ears than law enforcement to help catch crooks.

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