Real New York Robbers Copied Ben Affleck’s Latex Masks from The Town

A fictional Boston crime inspired a real life crime. Weird—isn't it usually the other way around?

the town

Screenshot via FilmDogsOnline / Youtube

Ben Affleck’s face made an appearance in court last week, but only for creative purposes. According to reports from The Daily Mail, three black robbers wore latex masks to dress as white NYPD officers to rob a New York check-cashing location last year. The robbers got away with $200,000 in haul, but prosecutors say that the three robbers took the idea of latex masks—plus some other clever robbing tactics—straight from scenes in the 2010 Ben Affleck flick The Town.

The New York Post reported that Brooklyn prosecutors have an image of one of the robbers wearing a T-shirt with an image of the infamous nun masks from The Town. It seems like these guys were really enthusiastic about Ben Affleck’s robbing strategies. The three robbers not only used latex masks and impersonated cops, but they also reportedly doused their robbing scene with bleach to disguise DNA evidence and intimidated eye-witnesses by giving details on their personal lives.

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The crime is a little different, however. Affleck’s gang in The Town were using their masks as disguises. These New York robbers were additionally doing a race-swap. And they went through great lengths to do so. The robbers supposedly spent $2,000 for these masks made by Custom Effects, a film special effect company that produces work for major Hollywood movies (including 2 Guns, Mark Wahlberg’s latest).

We know that Boston has a long history of being a form of inspiration for crime adapted to the screen. We’ve had our fair share of plots being purely fictional (Gone, Baby, Gone), somewhat fictional (The Departed), and completely nonfictional (Boston’s Finest). But what’s most interesting in this situation is that a fictional story has inspired true events.

This hasn’t happened much in our neck of the woods. Boston is the kind of place where crime seems to find us. We’re the home of some of the baddest crime scenes in the nation. Think about the field day Hollywood is having with Whitey Bulger at the moment, in addition to a new Discovery Channel show based out of Southie called Saint Hoods. And we can’t forget the cold-blooded Irish Bostonians portrayed in Showtime’s Ray Donovan. We don’t make this stuff up—we do this stuff. And now these New York robbers played it out in real time. It’s life imitating art imitating life. It’s existential, or something.

At the end of the day, as big of fans as these New York guys were of The Town, they obviously forgot that it didn’t end well for the robbers. Get ’em next time?