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Image used for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Pexels/Evan Velez Saxer

Philadelphia transit police have banned ski masks known as "shiestys" popular in urban fashion after a teen was murdered on a bus by someone wearing one.

Charles Lawson, the police chief of SEPTA, the city's rail, bus and subway system, announced Thursday that no one wearing the masks would be allowed on the system.

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"Come on SEPTA property wearing your shiesty, and you will be engaged by police," he said.

"You got two choices: remove it, or we escort you off the property."

The balaclavas became street fashion items in the young African American community in the past few years, with music and sports stars donning them, and popular fashion brands making their own. British brand Paul Smith sells a striped one for $195.

They are also called "pooh shiestys" after a rapper of that name who also wore them. But police note face masks are often used in committing crime.

The person who boarded a SEPTA bus Wednesday night and shot a teen boy dead was "outfitted in a hoodie and a full face mask cover," said Lawson.

They are a "major issue because we are seeing them routinely being worn in 80-degree weather or above."

"Pandemic notwithstanding, there is no legitimate reason to wear a full head covering in public for anything, medical or otherwise."

But he also tied the crime to the prevalence of guns in the city of 1.6 million. "Seemingly everyone has access to a gun, and the propensity to use it over meaningless arguments is shocking," Lawson said.