BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A white man who allegedly used dark makeup to disguise himself as Black before attempting to rob a mall kiosk was arrested, the Lakewood-Busti Police Department announced Wednesday.

Michael Lee, 34, was charged with third-degree robbery and petit larceny.

Lakewood-Busti police say they responded to the Banter by Piercing Pagoda kiosk in the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood for a robbery in progress at around 12:49 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21.

Police say Lee allegedly claimed he had a bomb and to do what he asked, and that officers were advised the suspect was a Black male wearing a gray hoodie last seen by the exit near the public bathrooms. Mall security advised police of someone in the bathroom, and officers found Lee inside wearing different clothes than the suspect’s description.

Police say they continued to search the area before returning to the restroom and found the suspect’s described clothes with dark stains as well as cleaning wipes used to remove makeup with dark stains.

It is alleged that Lee used dark makeup to disguise himself as Black in order to hide his facial tattoos.

Police were able to locate Lee later when a call from a local Walmart claimed someone matching the suspect’s description had just shoplifted and fled towards Applebee’s. Officers then found Lee on Crystal Avenue, a few streets away from the Walmart and took him into custody.

Lee was released on an appearance ticket and is set to return to court at a later date.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.