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Friday, April 19, 2013

Cops Catch "Hammer Pants Bandit": A Win for Them, an Enormous Loss for Us

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Cue the "guess you CAN touch this" quips. Police are announcing they arrested the so-called "Hammer Pants Bandit" on Thursday, after the suspect eluded authorities for months.

Weston_M_Rogers.jpeg
  • Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

According to a fresh release from the Portland Police Bureau, cops arrested 46-year-old Weston Miner Rogers at his residence on SE Aspen Summit Drive, just east of I-205. He's accused of three bank robberies in the Portland region that occurred between October and February.

Here's the thing: I'm appreciative that cops seem to take a certain amount of pride in flashy bandit names. I am. But what's the system here? Where is the overarching logic in these things?

A cursory search of PPB news releases in past several years helps illustrate my point.

"Dopey the Bandit" you may remember from earlier this year. He was connected to a spate of robberies in 2012 and 2013, and he looks literally NOTHING LIKE BELOVED DISNEY DWARF DOPEY. More like a methy, balding LeFou. Also: he (allegedly) pulled off 11 robberies in like two months. He's certainly more industrious than Dopey—obsessed as he is with silliness and mirth—would have been. Explanation from the press release: "Kehm was nicknamed 'Dopey the Bandit' after numerous Portland area robberies." Unhelpful.

There was the "Hipster Bandit," whose moniker's origins are a little more clear: He rode a bike and a witness told police he "looked like a hipster." Fair, and relatively certain to appeal to the sensibilities of a society thirsty to demonize hipsterdom in all its ever-changing faces.

And last summer came the "Bling Bandit," which the PPB didn't even try to justify, though the eventual suspect was helpfully named Ivory.

"The Pug Bandit" and "Beastie Boys Bandit"? Also no explanation.

The "Civil War Bandit" had an affinity for sports apparel. The "Oxy Bandit," a nadir in cops' imaginative efforts, stole Oxycontin.

What's my point? Sometimes the names are helpful descriptors, sometimes they're bewildering, and this time around we're all in for a big disappointment. Because Weston Miner Rogers did not wear hammer pants, friends. He didn't even keep a hammer IN his pants. He (allegedly) kept it in his sleeve, pretending it was a gun.

Bureau Spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson tells the Mercury investigators come up with the names for internal reference and try to at least loosely key in on a description. That used to be solely the province of the feds, but local authorities are stepping in more and more on bank robbery cases.

"Hammer sleeve doesn't sound as catchy as hammer pants," says Simpson, who himself owned a pair in more-innocent times. "Those names are all about being catchy."

There are times in the career of any serious news man that shake one's ability to feel. I'm right there.

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