Joey Miller (top), Mathew McNelly

Joey Miller (top), Mathew McNelly

A couple of young men from western Iowa who recently ran into some trouble with the law are gaining national attention for their bizarre mug shots. Twenty-three-year-old Matthew McNelly and 20-year-old Joey Miller are accused of trying to break into an apartment in Carroll last Friday night.

The occupant of the apartment called police and reported the men fled in a vehicle. Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler says McNelly and Miller had used a permanent marker to blacken their faces.

“It’s a little weird,” Cayler said. “I’ve been here long enough that I’ve seen a lot of things, but this one’s a little different compared to most. I mean, just the face thing is what sets it apart. The guy saw them get out of the car, so it wasn’t like they were invisible.”

McNelly and Miller were captured and their mug shots show their faces covered in black ink. The photos and story are quickly spreading on the World Wide Web. Cayler says one of the suspects believed the owner of the apartment was seeing his girlfriend.

 “Presumably, it wasn’t so much of a burglary as it was…they were going to have some kind of a discussion, let’s say. For what’s worth, it appeared they had both been drinking quite a bit and maybe weren’t thinking quite rationally,” Cayler said.

Both men were charged with attempted second-degree burglary and released after posting bond. McNelly also faces a charge of drunken driving. Cayler says he’s received calls from media outlets around the country seeking comment on incident.