Darth Vader, Santa Claus: Strangest robbery disguises ever

A North Carolina bank felt the full power of 'The Force' recently, when it was robbed by a man dressed up in a Darth Vader costume.

CCTV recordings posted online showed the man fleeing the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.

In the robbery on Monday, Mar 16, the man dressed as the Sith lord from the Star Wars series was not armed with a lightsaber however, instead pointing a long gun at staff while demanding money.

And to make his escape, he left not on a starfighter, but a Chevrolet Surbaban, reported CNN, who added that there have been at least three other cases of banks in the US being attacked by Vader-inspired thiefs.

This man is also not the first criminal to don a creative disguise for nefarious purposes.

In November last year, a man put on a full Santa Claus suit, complete with a thick white beard, to rob a post office in Melbourne, Australia.

But rather than a reindeer-powered sleigh, he escaped in a cream-coloured Jeep Compass, The Australian reported.

According to CNN, robbers have disguised themselves as everything from construction workers to nuns.

In one 2007 case from New Hampshire, USA, a man even tried to disguise himself as a tree!

The man duct-taped tree branches to his head and torso, before leaving with an undisclosed amount of cash, The Daily Mail reported.

But it soon became obvious that his leafy green "camouflage" was not sufficiently effective, as he was soon identified on surveillance footage and arrested.

Perhaps the most bizarre case is an attempted robbery of a 7-11 convenience store in San Diego, California in 2011, when the would-be thief dressed himself up as Gumby, a popular American clay-animation character.

But the robbery did not go to plan. The store clerk thought it was a joke, and the robber actually lost money when he dropped 27 cents on the floor as he fumbled with his outfit, according to online news reports.

By then, a companion had pulled up in a minivan in front of the store, and the frustrated man walked out and got into the vehicle.