Mississippi deputies nab Texas’ ‘Handsome Guy bandit’
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Mississippi authorities on Tuesday arrested suspected serial bank robber Steven Ray Milam, wanted by Texas authorities and dubbed the ‘Handsome Guy bandit” because of the expensive silicone mask he allegedly wore.
Milam, 44, was arrested about 10 a.m. in Jackson County, Miss., after a brief pursuit, police told Dallas’ NBC 5.
The chase began after Jackson County sheriff’s deputies ran a vehicle’s license plate and determined that the owner was wanted by Texas authorities in connection with a string of robberies.
After the driver refused to halt, Mississippi officers shot one of the car’s tires; the driver then stopped and attempted to swallow a large amount of pills, police told
Milam was being held and treated Tuesday afternoon for the pills he ingested, police said.
Milam, who runs a funeral business in Tyler, Texas, about 100 miles east of Dallas, is accused of robbing banks in Dallas, Irving and Plano, Texas, all while wearing what has been identified by authorities as the ‘Handsome Guy’ mask. The mask sells for $810 at Rusty Slusser’s SPFX Masks in Van Nuys and is marketed through online videos, where it has been viewed more than 1 million times.
The most recent ‘Handsome Guy bandit’ robbery occurred Saturday at a BBVA Compass Bank branch in the north Texas city of Richardson, about 15 miles north of Dallas. The suspect fired multiple shots at a police officer before escaping; no officers were injured.
SFSX masks, which include a $689 model called ‘The Thug,’ have been used in robberies before.
In 2010, Conrad Zdzierak, 30, a white Polish immigrant, used SPFX’s ‘the Player’ mask to pose as a black man and rob four Ohio banks, making off with $10,000. Police first detained a black suspect, but Zdzierak was arrested after a girlfriend found the mask and a pile of ink-stained cash and called police, his attorney, Christopher McDowell later told ABC News.
The same year, a 20-year-old Chinese man who wanted asylum in Canada used one of the company’s masks to transform himself into an elderly white man and slip past airport security in Hong Kong.
At the time, Slusser, a former makeup artist, told The Times he was troubled by the masks being misused.
‘We’re proud of the fact that our masks look real, but I’m not proud of the way they were used,’ Slusser said. ‘We’re very embarrassed this has happened. We were shocked that this happened.’
Slusser could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Milam, who was featured in a 2009 report by KHOU, was being held on charges of attempted capital murder in connection with Saturday’s robbery. FBI officials told KHOU that Milam may be responsible for more than half a dozen holdups in north Texas.
Milam previously served a two-year federal prison sentence for a pair of Dallas bank robberies in 2005, according to police. His sentence included three years of supervision by the federal probation office, scheduled to end early last year. According to court records, Milam didn’t use a mask in the 2005 robberies.
Sgt. Kevin Perlich, a Richardson police spokesman, told WFAA Dallas/Fort Worth that witness accounts and bank surveillance video links Milam to the ‘Handsome Guy’ robberies. Perlich could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston
Video: Texas authorities have been seeking Steven Ray Milam, 44, who they believe has used a ‘Handsome Guy’ silicone mask to conceal his identity during a series of bank robberies. Credit: YouTube.