CINCINNATI – A white man who pleaded guilty to six robberies in Ohio used a black mask so lifelike that police initially arrested a black man for one of the crimes, authorities said Tuesday.
The mother of the wrongly accused man even thought a photo of the robbery suspect she saw on television was a photo of her son, the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office and the attorney for the white defendant said.
Conrad Zdzierak, 30, pleaded guilty Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to one count of aggravated robbery and five counts of robbery in a plea deal with prosecutors. He faces up to 35 years in prison at his Jan. 7 sentencing.
In exchange, prosecutors dismissed 12 charges and decided not to seek indictments for other crimes, prosecutor’s spokeswoman Julie Wilson said Tuesday.
“Conrad apologizes to everyone, is sorry for any harm he has caused and accepts responsibility for his actions,” his lawyer Christopher McDowell said.
Zdzierak stole about $15,000 in the robberies of four banks, a credit union and a pharmacy that occurred in March and April — crimes in which witnesses reported that the robber was black and surveillance video appeared to show a black man.
Zdzierak’s resemblance to the black man who was initially arrested was so similar that some witnesses even identified a photo of the black man as the one who robbed them, McDowell said.
The prosecutor’s office would not release the name of the wrongly accused man.