Weekly Obsession

Sunday, December 26, 2010 at 9:05pm

Like all great American cities, Nashville has its holiday traditions. The nighttime parade up Broadway. City and state battling for grandest public Christmas tree supremacy. Watching two mediocre teams battle for relevance in the Music City Bowl. Spending hours with thousands of our friends and neighbors stuck in traffic in Green Hills. Listening to old-timers tell the same old stories about the Harvey’s display
in Centennial Park.

And, of course, robbing banks in costume.

Last year, Santa Claus robbed a SunTrust on Old Hickory Boulevard, his costume complete down to black leather boots and red sack. In fact, the robber told the teller he needed money to pay his elves.

Clever. 

As November turned to December, it was only a matter of time before some other enterprising no-good-nik put together a costume and strolled to the counter demanding some cash. Would a new Santa speak not a word, but go straight to his work, fill up his sack and then turn with a jerk? Perhaps one of the elves — miffed at not getting a cut from ’09 — would work his way onto the naughty list. 

That’s a little too on-the-cherry-nose for Music City’s latest masked man. Our newest serial robber seems content to dress like the scariest thing of all: a tourist. Believed to be responsible for three December robberies — including, boldly, two at the same branch — the man has donned gear usually reserved for Lower Broad in July. In one case, he decided he’d cowboy up: suede duster, black cowboy hat. In another, he readied for the Music City Bowl in his (per a police description) “black jacket with an orange T on the front.” Why not just say, “He was dressed in some Vols gear”?

And in the third, our costume-changing crook got ready for the big race at the speedway in (again, from the not-quite-specific-enough CrimeStoppers report) “A NASCAR No. 8 black and red cap.” That’s a Dale Jr. hat for the rest of us.

Where will the Costumed Crook of 2010 show up next? And what terrible tourist stereotype will he assume?