A Wells Fargo branch in Montebello, California did its part to make one cancer patient’s life a smidge more hellish last Friday, when tellers mistook mild-mannered lymphoma patient Joe Jaramillo for a serial robber nicknamed “the Surgical Mask Bandit," and attempted to have him arrested.
Like the creatively festooned bandit of legend, the L.A. Times reports, Jaramillo walked into his local Wells Fargo wearing a light blue surgical mask, though his was to prevent him from succumbing to infection while receiving chemotherapy, rather than to facilitate the illegal removal of cash from banks. Jaramillo was also wearing a baseball cap to protect his hairless head, which, to be fair, is usually a no-no in banks.
After Jaramillo explained to the teller assisting him that he was wearing the mask due to his cancer treatment, and provided his government I.D. and, perhaps most crucially, did not attempt to rob the bank, employees refused to give him money from his account, fearing he was there to rob the bank.
Soon, six police officers (notified via silent alarm) had Jaramillo surrounded and instructed him to put his hands over his head. Jaramillo later described this moment as “so embarrassing."
In a statement, Wells Fargo apologized for mistaking Jaramillo for an armed and dangerous criminal during his otherwise uneventful trip to the bank, though it couldn't resist adding that the mask and hat he was wearing did match the description of the serial robber. (In images released by the FBI, the Surgical Mask Bandit also wears gloves and a hooded sweatshirt and carries a large blue duffel bag filled with stolen money, but whatever.)
As a Sowwy about your cancer and also for trying to arrest you, the bank pledged to make “a $5,000 donation to the cancer charity of Mr. Jaramillo’s choice." Jaramillo reportedly plans to donate the funds to the American Cancer Society.
And then immediately hit it up in a robbery, most likely.
The Perfect Crime Bandit.
[L.A. Times // Image via CBS/KCAL9]
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