Thames Valley Police investigating a violent robbery are trying to identify a group of men, one of whom is dressed very similarly to Jim Carrey's classic character The Mask. A slightly lower budget The Mask, mind; his Panama hat not quite as rigid as in the film, his teeth not as scarily massive, his chin presumably incapable of detaching from the rest of his face.
Police say they would like to speak to the men pictured, as they believe the group may have vital information that could assist their investigation. For some extra context, here's what they're investigating:
A 21-year-old man on a walk with his friend was attacked at around 4:20AM on Sunday the 10th of April at the crossroads of Catherine Street and Beresford Road in Reading. His friend walked away after the group started shouting. One of the assaulters then took a swing, but missed, before the victim was struck from behind and knocked to the floor, where he was repeatedly attacked with punches and kicks. The men then stole his wallet, which contained personal belongings, including money, ID and bankcards.
The victim suffered cuts and bruises, but didn't require hospital treatment.
Thames Valley Police are appealing for witnesses, and have asked that anyone with any information calls the 24-hour inquiry centre on 101.
What they haven't asked is why this man is wearing green face paint, a yellow hat and a yellow suit, i.e. the uniform of the titular character in the 1994 Jim Carrey comedy The Mask. Why is he the only person in fancy dress? Was he invited to a stag-do under the pretence that everyone else would be dressed up, but then they didn't dress up, as some kind of sick joke? Is he a massive Jim Carrey fan who alternates between this costume and those of Ace Ventura and the Cable Guy? Is that just how he dresses?
We can't be sure.
What we can be sure of, however, is that it's not the first time police have appealed for help identifying men in fancy dress while investigating an assault. In December of last year, Leicestershire Police asked for help tracing a group of guys dressed as various movie characters – Rambo, a Smurf and characters from Cool Runnings, among them – after a couple got into an altercation outside the Millennium Fish Bar in Melton.
In 2013, Stockport Police released an image of a guy dressed like Indiana Jones who they said was wanted in connection with an assault. In 2013, Yorkshire Police asked for help tracking down a woman dressed as The Hulk, after she allegedly punched a 17-year-old in the face. And in July of 2015, Glasgow Police released images of two suspects in an assault case: one man dressed as William Tell – the Swiss folk legend and subject of many films you may well have never seen – and another as Heidi, the Swiss girl with blonde pigtails, who's appeared in a weirdly huge list of TV shows, movies and theatre productions.
What this says about The State of Britain Today is not immediately obvious, but maybe once Thames Valley Police get in touch with their masked man everything will become clear.
More on VICE: