Besides "Where's the money?" Dearborn Detective Sgt. Anne Kanitra can't think of the fashion statement made by a new trend of sweatshirts.They're hoodies that zip to the top of the hood, leaving only open eyeholes or a face covered by mesh. They're being sold at party stores, gas stations and small clothing stores around the Detroit area as well as online.
"To me, as a police officer, there would not be any other reason to have this jacket besides to hide your identity to commit a crime," Kanitra says.
Designs called "Terminator" and "Flying Spider," for instance, are sold on the Internet clothier HipHopCloset.com where spokeswoman Kyiesha Kelly says the hoodies debuted last year.
She hasn't had any complaints about them as "crime wear" and says she hadn't thought of that use until News Hits asked.
"My nephew has one. He just wears it when it gets cold out," Kelly says. "It offers a lot of comfort and warmth. I never thought of people using it to stick people up."
Last month, police arrested a trio of men suspected in about a dozen robberies in Ferndale, Detroit, Birmingham, Redford and Oak Park, says Lt. William Wilson, of Ferndale Police. They were wearing hoodies with built-in Spiderman masks.
"They probably started out as some novelty for kids but it goes from there," he says.
In Mobile, Ala., police aren't particularly thrilled about any of the hoodies that zip all the way up to partially cover faces, says Nancy Johnson, the PR coordinator for that department.
"The ones that are particularly onerous are the ones with just the eyeholes," she says. "We have clown ones and we've seen a variety of them.
Stores at a local mall still sell them, Johnson says, but not as many after police went public about the sweatshirts' appearances in local holdups.
"There was a lot of publicity with the article and there seem to be fewer sweatshirts now," Johnson says. "And fewer robberies."News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com