Their attempt to hold up a small convenience store in Nashville, Tennessee, fell short when, due to COVID-19, would-be robbers 16-year-old Robbie Hillman and 17-year-old Fred Holland had trouble distinguishing themselves from the plethora of face-mask-wearing customers.
Brandishing weapons and wearing bandannas covering their noses and mouths to hide their identities, Hillman and Holland rushed the cashier and demanded that he give them all “paper” in his register, only for the distracted clerk, not noticing their weapons, to respond that the store was out of bathroom tissue.
“Try the Asian market up the block,” the clerk told them, his words muffled by his own face covering. “I hear they have some.”
As several customers, also wearing mouth and nose coverings, looked on, one elderly gentleman lifted his own face mask long enough to advise Hillman and Holland, “Bandannas are better than nothing, but they won’t prevent transmission of the virus if you’re exposed. I’ve got a sister who’s a nurse in Cleveland – if you find me on Facebook I might be able to get you some medical masks.”
From a careful six-plus feet away, he proceeded to relay his contact information to the two teens, while Hillman and Holland looked at each other, baffled.
“Thanks, appreciate that,” Holland finally told the gentleman. “I’ll friend you.”
At a loss as to what else to do, the two young men abandoned their criminal plan and exited the store, debating how much a face mask might bring in on eBay. “Weird times, man,” Holland told his partner in attempted crime. “We’ve got to make our opportunities.”