Magazine Seeks Phony Photographer, Though Apparently No Crime Involved
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ A teen fashion magazine is finding shorn heads and red faces the only clues to a mysterious ″hair bandit″ who hires models in the magazine’s name, films them getting haircuts and then skips town.
The man, who identifies himself as Bill Thompson from Hollywood, Calif., is a fake but not a criminal, says Gladys Glickman, attorney for Young Miss magazine.
″Since there seems to be no kind of any crime involved in this, we have almost no way of getting any official help in finding this guy,″ Ms. Glickman said Friday from the magazine’s New York office. She has fielded complaints from modeling agencies and teen-agers in Atlanta, Michigan, Arkansas and Virginia in the last week.
Six Toledo teen-agers were the latest victims of the man, who operates similarly in each city, Ms. Glickman said.
The man asked a Toledo modeling agency to find 15 to 20 teens for a fictitious fashion article in Young Miss, then chose six finalists, ages 14 to 19, who were willing to get haircuts for the job. The modeling agency gave each girl $100 and paid for the haircuts, which Thompson photographed last week.
He then told the agency he had to leave town suddenly. The agency, which called Young Miss and discovered the deception, would ordinarly absorb the cost of the haircut and photo sessions in hopes of getting publicity if its models’ photos were used in the magazine.
″Local police seem to think that so long as no money seemed to be involved and no actual kind of abuse, they don’t know what to make of it, either,″ Ms. Glickman said.
The girls were fully clothed when photographed, but one said she is worried about the pictures being used in pornography.
″Obviously, he’s some sort of kook,″ said 16-year-old Stacey Tugend, who had her shoulder-length hair clipped to a short ″boy-cut.″
″My parents are just mostly worried about getting the pictures back ... the other girls, they’re all just saying they’re disappointed and kind of scared. He has our names and our addresses and our phone numbers and all that stuff.″
Miss Tugend, has been modeling just a few months, and said she doesn’t plan to give it up.
″But if someone calls and asks me to do something for a magazine, I’m going to be pretty skeptical,″ she said.