Fugitive nearly evades police using 'Hollywood quality' disguise

By Peter Holley

Police say Shaun Miller, 30, disguised himself as an elderly man to evade capture. Miller had been a fugitive since April, police said. Photo / Barnstable police, via Washington Post
Police say Shaun Miller, 30, disguised himself as an elderly man to evade capture. Miller had been a fugitive since April, police said. Photo / Barnstable police, via Washington Post

Shaun "Shizz" Miller was desperate.

Police had surrounded his residence in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and were demanding that the alleged drug trafficker - a fugitive for months - come outside.

Miller did exactly that, but not before slipping on a wrinkled, liver-spotted mask that added about a half-century to the 30-year-old's face.

It was a criminal Hail Mary, to be sure, and it worked - for a time.

"Upon further investigation, officers determined that the 'elderly man' was in fact Miller, and at that point, officers pulled off Miller's realistic disguise and placed him under arrest," a statement released by U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said.

Miller may have been caught, but his strategy seemed to impress the arresting officers.

"It was Hollywood quality," Barnstable police Lt. Mark Mellyn told the Cape Cod Times, referring to the mask. "It was unbelievable."

Officers searching Miller's home discovered two loaded weapons hidden in a laundry basket and nearly $30,000 in cash, according to the statement.

In April, Miller was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, the statement said.

Miller had eluded police since that month, when drug raids that netted 19 people associated with the Hyannis, Massachusetts-based "Nauti-Block" gang began, the Times reported.

The gang had risen to regional prominence in recent years, according to the Times.

"Although it had not been classified as a gang until then, its members' close ties and organized drug-related crimes dated back to their youth growing up in the Nautical Road area of the village," the paper reported.

"Early on, members of the Nauti-Block gang called themselves 'The Big Dogs' and racked up multiple assault arrests, including charges from a 2008 brawl at the Cape Cod Mall with another local crew in which three men were stabbed in retaliation for a previous incident.

"It was that year when Barnstable police began noticing them, as they were responsible for much of the violence in the Sea Street and Main Street area of Hyannis, Deputy Police Chief Sean Balcom said. That disruption led to formation of the Street Crime Unit in 2010, he said."

Authorities told the Times that they had been watching the home of Miller's mother for some time before finally surrounding it on Thursday after confirming that a man spotted at the home was, in fact, Miller.

When officers ordered the occupants of the home outside, the Times reported, Miller - disguised as an elderly man - exited the front door "relatively quickly" while his mother exited the back of the home. Police told the paper that they suspect the mother and son were trying to confuse police.

Mellyn told the paper that Miller - wearing the mask, a hat and a jacket - began talking to officers immediately. The alleged senior citizen had been taken into custody to be debriefed when officers became suspicious, Mellyn said. The old man had $10,000 on him and there was something strange about the edges of his eyes.

"He was probably expecting us to move him outside the danger zone," Mellyn told the paper, noting that Miller would've used that opportunity to escape.

Miller refused to speak with officers after being arrested, the Times reported.

He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Boston on Aug. 31.

- Washington Post

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