"GUILTY, BUT MOSTLY STUPID"
Rules for Bank Robbers: According to the FBI, most modern-day bank robberies are "unsophisticated and unprofessional crimes," committed by young male repeat offenders who apparently don't know the first thing about their business. For instance it is reported that in spite of the widespread use of surveillance cameras, 76 percent of bank robbers use no disguise, 86 percent never study the bank before robbing it, and 95 percent make no long-range plans for concealing the loot. Thus, this advice is offered to would-be bank robbers, along with examples of what can happen if the rules aren't followed:
1. Pick the right bank. Clark advises that you don't follow the lead of the fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money. On the other hand, you don't want to be too familiar with the bank. A California robber ran into his mother while making his getaway. She turned him in.
2. Don't sign your demand note. Demand notes have been written on the back of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in Pittsburgh, on an envelope bearing the name and address of another in Detroit, and in East Hartford, Conn., on the back of a withdrawal slip giving the robber's signature and account number.
3. Avoid being fussy. A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a teller a note saying, "I have a gun. Give me all your twenties in this envelope." The teller said, "All I've got is two twenties." The robber took them and left.
4. Don't advertise. A holdup man thought that if he smeared mercury ointment on his face, it would make him invisible to the cameras. Actually, it accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture. Bank robbers in Minnesota and California tried to create a diversion by throwing stolen money out of the windows of their cars. They succeeded only in drawing attention to themselves.
5. Take right turns only. Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who took a wrong turn and ended up on the Homestead Air Force Base. They drove up to a military police guardhouse and, thinking it was a tollbooth, offered the security men money.
6. Provide your own transportation. It is not clever to borrow the teller's car, which she carefully described to police. This resulted in the most quickly-solved bank robbery in the history of Pittsfield, Mass.
7. Consider another line of work. There was the case of the hopeful criminal in Swansea, Mass., who, when the teller told him she had no money, fainted. He was still unconscious when the police arrived.
8. A man went into a drug store, pulled a gun, announced a robbery, and pulled a Hefty-bag face mask over his head--and realized that he'd forgotten to cut eyeholes in the mask.
9. A man successfully broke into a bank after hours and stole--are you ready for this?--the bank's video camera. While it was recording. Remotely. (That is, the videotape recorder was located elsewhere in the bank, so he didn't get the videotape of himself stealing the camera.)
10. A man successfully broke into a bank's basement through a street-level window, cutting himself up pretty badly in the process. He then realized that: (1) he could not get to the money from where he was,(2) he could not climb back out the window through which he had entered, and (3) he was bleeding pretty badly. So he located a phone and dialed "911" for help ...
11. Virginia: Two men in a pickup truck went to a new-home site to steal a refrigerator. Banging up walls, floors, etc., they snatched a refrigerator from one of the houses, and loaded it onto the pickup. The truck promptly got stuck in the mud, so these brain surgeons decided that the refrigerator was too heavy. Banging up *more* walls, floors, etc., they put the refrigerator BACK into the house, and returned to the pickup truck, only to realize that they locked the keys in the truck--so they abandoned it.
12. A man walked into a Circle-K (a convenience store similar to a 7-11), put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled-- leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.
13. Not long ago a man from Grand Forks North Dakota traveled to Fargo North Dakota to rob Community First Bank. He scribbled his ransom note and gave it to the teller. The quickly gave him the money and watched him run out the door. Attempts to search the surrounding area were unsuccessful. Upon review of the ransom note it was revealed that the man wrote the ransom note on his personal bank deposit note. Police traveled to the man’s home to arrest him.