Tyrone Lamont Allen has numerous tattoos on his face that witnesses aren’t sure they saw.
Portland authorities claim an unidentified man is responsible for four bank and credit union robberies and the stick up of a bar in 2017.
Since the string of robberies, police named Tyrone Lamont Allen as a suspect. Now, investigators are facing criticism over how they’ve identified the 50-year-old.
Allen has numerous elaborate and prominent tattoos on his forehead, cheeks and neck as revealed in April 18, 2017, booking photos shot following his arrest on unrelated warrants. Some of the tattoos even relay very readable names.
Only two of the four bank tellers who were witnesses to the robber and saw his face recalled seeing tattoos, according to The Oregonian. One witness remembered seeing tattoos on the suspect’s hands and another mentioned seeing faded tattoos on the man’s neck. None of the four witnesses recalled seeing tattoos on the robber’s forehead or cheeks, which, according to surveillance images of the man, were clearly visible.
According to The Oregonian, a police forensic criminalist testified last week that investigators had him Photoshop Allen’s face to remove the facial tattoos. “I basically painted over the tattoos,” Weber testified, according to the newspaper. “Almost like applying electronic makeup.”
According to The Oregonian, investigators had this done before presenting Allen’s photo to the witnesses in a photo lineup.
None of the witnesses were informed the photos had been altered, which is a violation of U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies’ protocols on how to handle photo lineups.
Allen has since been charged with three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery. His attorney has since filed a motion asking a judge to suppress the witness identifications at trial and argued in federal court that police were trying to “rig the outcome” of the lineup by making the man look more like what the witnesses described.
“This is a very, very slippery slope given the advent of technology,” attorney Mark Ahlemeyer said. “We don’t know where this may end.”
Below are the before and after pictures along with surveillance photos from one of the bank robberies.