updated 3/10/2007 12:56:24 PM ET 2007-03-10T17:56:24

Bank robbers, terrorists and prowlers have given ski masks a bad name for years, but a Connecticut man is wearing them around town to prove that not everyone who dons one is plotting mayhem.

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Kevin Lambert, 31, got the idea in 2005 after he walked out of a local package store and slipped on a ski mask for an impromptu photograph. A passerby, fearing the store had been robbed, called police. Lambert was charged with breach of peace and had to perform 15 hours of community service.

Since then, he and his friends have worn ski masks in public places in an attempt to dispel the stereotype. Lambert has even launched a Web site dedicated to “Striving to keep America Warm By Combating Ski Mask Discrimination.”

“This isn’t something I do to go out and scare people,” he said.

In some chilly circles, ski masks seem to be making a comeback.

Tom Ramos, 16, said the three-hole knit masks are retro-chic in the snowboarding community of Naugatuck.

On the slopes, sure. But in a bank?                 

“It’s a little out of place,” Ramos acknowledged.

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