Comic Con Recap: Man Facing Five-Year Sentence For Illegal Cosplay

Comic Con is a time for dressing up and impersonating your favorite fantasy characters, but one man now faces jail time for a Comic Con plot to get into special areas for free. He imitated an investigative unit of the Air Force at the Comic Con. Twenty-nine-year-old Star Wars fan Jonathon Wall is now looking at legal trouble and fines for his Comic Con scheme in Salt Lake City, Utah.

According to NBC, the man entered the Salt Lake Comic Con and stated that he was an agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and told staff that he was pursuing someone for an investigation. He had already been given a pass to get in worth $250 by a friend, but he wanted access to the Comic Con green room so he could get close to all the celebrities attending the festivities.

He managed to slide past security with the scheme and avoid the entrance fee. But one person working security at the convention center didn’t believe he was who he said he was. The security officer was a retired police officer. He called the Air Force to ask if any such investigation existed, and convinced actual agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to question Wall.

Jonathon Wall claims he thought up the scam on the spot, and is fending off accusations that he planned everything ahead of time. But Wall works for the Air Force, so he may have had access to official-looking identification and enough of a uniform to look convincing. He gave reporters multiple reasons for his actions. He claims he did it due to depression after a motorcycle accident. He also claims that he did it for his brother who he said was in attendance, and that he and his brother suffer from ankylosing spondylitis, an arthritic condition affecting the spine and joints.

Wall would have had better luck and a lot less consequences if he had stated he was Batman pursuing the Joker, or that he was looking for Robin upon entering the Comic Con. It would have made him harder to pick out of the crowd of costumed con attendees, and he might just earn a big enough laugh for a free admission from Comic Con staff. But instead Wall will got a summons and scrutiny from the Air Force.

The convention was held last month and drew 120,000 attendees. Yet they still managed to fish Wall out of the Comic Con crowd. According to Time, because of his Comic Con caper he will have to defend himself against two charges, each with a potential $250,000 fine, along with a three and a five year sentence.

New York City’s own annual Comic Con has been going on since yesterday. Comic fans will pack the convention floor until Sunday. The large, and still growing event has so far been without incident, as far as skipping fees, but it’s not light on excitement. A Game of Thrones panel revealed secrets in store for cast and future episodes. There was also a preview for season 2 of the hit animated series Star Wars: Rebels. And attendees saw new footage of next year’s highly-anticipated release, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. On the convention floor you can spot everyone from Godzilla to Zelda to Leonardo, leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A tremendous amount of TV, movie, and online celebrities are also in attendance to sign autographs and take questions from fans.

If Jonathon Wall really wanted to sneak into this, or any other Comic Con, all he had to do was pose as “comic book publisher,” or perhaps “member of the media.”

[Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images For Turner]