By Rikki King
Every contemporary robber seems to have one staple in his closet: the LBH, or Little Black Hoodie.
We’ve been wondering for months. What’s up with the hoodie?
In nearly every robbery we come across, the suspect dons a hooded sweatshirt, in addition to the usual mix of gloves, sunglasses, bandanas and other accessories popular with the criminal crowd.
What makes the hoodie so attractive to crooks?
Regional fashion experts declined to speculate. Local investigators have a few ideas, though.
No robbery getup is as common these days as the hoodie, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said. He joked that he wishes word-processing software would add the word “hoodie” because it keeps cropping up in his spell check.
“When you leave somewhere having just robbed a location, you don’t look necessarily out of place if you’re wearing a hoodie,” he said.
Hoodies are in style, but they’re strategic too, Mill Creek police Sgt. Ian Durkee said. Some repeat robbers favor a particular getup, but mostly they’re just trying to conceal their identity.
“It’s a normal piece of clothing that isn’t a red flag like a goofy Halloween mask or something,” he said.
Sometimes, the robbers try to ditch the hoodies at the scene so they look different than the description given to police, Durkee said.
Hoodies can be bulky enough to hide another outfit underneath, but police know what to look for even if the robber changes, he said. Many robbers don’t bother with much of a disguise.
“It’s a pretty narrow type of outfit people are wearing,” Durkee said. “They’re not getting too inventive.”
Regardless, a big black hoodie isn’t exactly a golden ticket for a clean getaway. If they were, many of the culprits wouldn’t show up in the county lockup just a few days later.
In part, that’s because some businesses have such advanced surveillance systems that a sweatshirt won’t do much to prevent a positive identification, Mukilteo police detective Lance Smith said.
A hoodie might provide a low profile in the moments leading up to the robbery, he said, but it is no guarantee of long-term anonymity.