World

Cancer Patient Wearing Surgical Mask Mistaken For Bank Robber

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 28:  In a media event provided by the German Foundation for Organ Transplants (Deutsche Stiftung Organtransplantation) a DSO employee wearing a surgical mask stands over an empty styrofoam box used for transporting human organs in an operation room at the Vivantes Neukoelln clinic on September 28, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. German politicians and health officials are debating the country's current system for matching doners with recipients following a scandal earlier in the year in which some patients were given preferential treatment at several hospitals. Vivantes clinics were not involved in the scandal.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 28: In a media event provided by the German Foundation for Organ Transplants (Deutsche Stiftung Organtransplantation) a DSO employee wearing a surgical mask stands over an empty styrofoam box used for transporting human organs in an operation room at the Vivantes Neukoelln clinic on September 28, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. German politicians and health officials are debating the country's current system for matching doners with recipients following a scandal earlier in the year in which some patients were given preferential treatment at several hospitals. Vivantes clinics were not involved in the scandal. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

Maybe it’s not always the best idea to walk into a bank wearing a facial mask. But sometimes, you have no choice.

Police officers in California stunned a sickly Joe Jaramillo after they surrounded him as he emerged from a Wells Fargo Bank donning a surgical mask. He had recently been treated for chemotherapy and wore the mask to ward off an infection.

But authorities mistook him for a bank robber – and placed him in handcuffs.

Jaramillo, 57, who is fighting lymphoma, went to the Montebello, Calif., bank to withdraw money last Friday, a day after undergoing a round of chemotherapy.

“I felt so embarrassed and humiliated,” Jaramillo told the Los Angeles CBS affiliate after being confronted by cops.

Police had mistaken Jaramillo for the “Surgical Mask” bandit, who is wanted for at least two bank robberies in Orange County.

Jaramillo had legitimate reasons to wear his mask, he said.

But the cops weren’t initially buying it.

Shotgun-doting police stopped him as he left the bank and then searched his vehicle. When they realized Jaramillo was not the person they were looking for, police apologized and let him go.

The real “Surgical Mask” bandit was arrested a few days later and faces 12 counts of robbery.

Surgical mask or not, Jaramillo said he doesn’t understand why he was stopped.

“To me,” Jaramillo said about the robber, “he doesn’t look anything like me.”

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