Back in the seventies, I took an acting class, and a makeup artist explained to us that the incredibly lifelike latex masks seen on the Mission Impossible TV series running at the time were physically impossible. These masks were so effective that you could look exactly like a given individual, and no one would spot the difference.
Producers would want this makeup artist to make these for theatrical productions, and he had to explain that they didn't exist. On TV, the impostor would start to peel off the latex, and you'd cut away, and you'd see another face underneath, and it would be, in fact, a different actor.
Well, technology marches, and now they exist. If they can't exactly impersonate someone at close range, they can change your race temporarily.
In 2010, we had a story about a guy named Conrad Zdzierak, [z-jair-jack ] pictured below, right and left.
Mr. Zdzierak, a Polish immigrant, was accused of committing armed robbery while wearing a $600 latex mask with African-American features. There was some question about whether, in addition to being a serious crime that could kill someone and send you to prison for life, this was also racist [White robber nabbed wearing African-American 'Hollywood' mask, by Lindsay Goldwer, New York Daily News, April 22, 2010].
Well, now the reverse has happened. A black man was arrested for robbery, while disguising himself as a white man.
Fox New reports that Rockim Prowell, 30, looked like this, wearing the mask below, in security camera footage while committing thirty burglaries in Beverley Hills:
In private life, without his mask, Mr. Prowell looks like this:
Here's the story, with emphasis added. And note that thanks presumably to LA County's policies regarding the racial reckoning, a man connected with 30 counts of burglary, and charged with four felonies, is out on the street again.
Rockim Prowell, 30, of Inglewood, was arrested on Sunday following a traffic stop in Beverly Hills. He was later charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office with two counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft, and one count of vandalism.
Police found items, including a face mask, in the vehicle he was driving that linked him to a string of burglaries, the Beverly Hills Police Department said. They also determined the license plates attached to the vehicle were stolen.
Authorities connected Prowell with at least two burglaries in Beverly Hills. One was on April 20 in the 1900 block of Loma Vista Drive, which helped authorities link the suspect to another burglary, on June 20, 2020, that occurred in the 100 block of Stanley Drive. During both crimes, the suspect stole flat-screen televisions.
When detectives conducted a search warrant at Prowell's home in Inglewood, they discovered stolen items connecting him to additional residential burglaries.
The Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Station said Prowell was connected with seven burglaries in their division.
"It was odd this burglar's mouth was always open when seen on video surveillance," LAPD Pacific wrote on Twitter. "When he was caught breaking into another home we discovered why."
Prowell was released on bond about 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department jail records.
[Masked bandit linked to 30 burglaries across Los Angeles arrested in Beverly Hills, by Mary Stringini, May 7, 2021]
Unlike Conrad Zdzierak, however, he's not being accused of racism.