Roland Tackman, the accused thief who crashed the Astor trial this morning and subsequently escaped from prison, is no ordinary stickup guy. Sure, the crimes he commits are petty (he mostly sticks to holding up the stores on the Upper East Side, where he lives, because, he told cops, "I'm lazy") and to support his drug habit, but Tackman conducts them with flair: He's been known to disguise himself with a fake nose and a hat — either a camouflage hat or a "black gangster hat with a big rim," per the Post — and wields either a fake black gun or a silver gun-shaped cigarette lighter he purchased at a flea market. More important, there's a reason he was able to escape undetected: This is not the first time. Over 25 years ago, Tackman apparently commandeered a prison van he was being transported in by brandishing an "extremely realistic" gun he had carved out of soap (just like in that Woody Allen movie!) and then tossed the guards in the back with the other prisoners. When he was nabbed again in 1985, he had fashioned a more sophisticated apparatus:
he tried to shoot his way out a prison van using a rubber-band powered zip gun fashioned out of metal tubing and a comb.
He apparently gave up after the officers pulled out their real guns, but still, "The guy is a legend," a source tells the Daily News. Even his lawyer doubts that law enforcement will be able to find him: "He is the quintessential average-looking white guy," he told the paper. "No distinguishing features or marks."
And just like that: Poof. He's gone.
Alleged robber escapes from courtroom [NYP]
Well-suited escape plan: Prisoner walks out of Manhattan Supreme Court by dressing as lawyer [NYDN]
Earlier: Updated: Escaped Con in Three-Piece Suit Crashes Astor Trial, Runs Free