Last week a Brooklyn bank had a surprise visit from a masked robber. The man, who was on a two-day robbing spree, busted in and after screaming “Happy f–king Halloween,” he pulled a gun on a teller and demanded $4,000. The teller gave the man double his request (really?) and he bolted.
But the story doesn’t end there. From the Post:
Several witnesses followed the masked robber when he fled, surrounding the thug while they called the cops. He was busted nearby by Borough Park Shomrim volunteers, who held him until the police arrived.
As you may know, the Shomrim are unarmed Hasidic men who patrol Jewish neighborhoods, stamping out vandalism, fighting crime, and combating anti-Semitism whenever they can. But that’s not the best part. The best part? The mask that the robber was wearing was that of the dreaded Red Skull.
Johann Shmidt AKA the Red Skull, for those of you who had friends in high school, is a Marvel comics character who was trained in terrorism and dark magic by none other than the Fuhrer himself, Adolf Hitler:
In his late teens during the rise of the Third Reich, Shmidt got his most prosperous job, a bellhop in a major hotel. There he served the rooms of Adolf Hitler himself. By chance, he was present when Hitler was furiously berating an officer and swore he could train Johann himself, a simple bellhop, to be a better National Socialist. Looking closely at him and sensing his dark inner nature, Hitler decided to take up the challenge and recruited Shmidt.
Dissatisfied with the standard drill instruction his subordinates used to train Shmidt, Hitler took over personally. Upon completion, Hitler gave Shmidt a unique uniform with a grotesque red skull mask, and he emerged as the Red Skull. His role was the embodiment of Nazi intimidation, while Hitler could remain the popular leader of Germany. The Red Skull was appointed head of Nazi terrorist activities with an additional large role in external espionage and sabotage. He was spectacularly successful, wreaking havoc throughout Europe in the early stages of World War II. The propaganda effect was so great that the United States government decided to counter it by creating their own equivalent using the recipient of the lost Operation Rebirth, Steve Rogers, Captain America.
Three cheers for the Borough Park Shomrim! Guarantors of Justice.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.