ANCHORAGE - Memo to robbers: If you disguise yourself as a Smurf, make sure you wipe behind your ears afterward.
Anchorage police said a man painted his face and tried to rob a hotel, but was arrested when officers spotted residual blue stains on his neck, ears and forehead that hadn't washed off.
Daniel Peter Clark, 19, is charged with robbery and assault.
Anchorage police Lt. Paul Honeman said the robbery was reported at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
A clerk at the Super 8 Motel on Minnesota Drive said a man with a blue face walked into the motel and asked for money. When the clerk said no, the man pulled out a knife with a 4- to 6-inch blade and waived it at the clerk.
The clerk retreated into a hotel office and locked the door. The suspect fled on foot without any money, Honeman said.
Police put out a description of the suspect: a man in his early 20s, thin, with short blond hair wearing a puffy red coat like a ski jacket. And a blue face.
Much of the description sounded familiar to Officer Kevin McDonald.
One day earlier, he had responded to a call of a disturbance at the Chelsea Inn on Spenard Road. He spoke to a young man with short blond hair who was wearing a puffy red coat.
McDonald and Sgt. Chris Sims drove to the Chelsea Inn on Saturday and spoke to the desk clerk. Twenty minutes after the robbery call, Clark appeared.
"In runs Mr. Clark, still wearing his blue face," Honeman said. "It was a clue."
Blue ink on his fingers also was a tip-off.
Police believe Clark ran from the Super 8, washed his face somewhere and walked to the Chelsea, where he was checked in. Blue stain, however, was prominent on his ears, neck and throat.
Police obtained a search warrant for Clark's room. They recovered a knife sheath and an ink blotter commonly used at bingo parlors for stamping cards.