Can you believe that people still rob banks?

by Kristina Tahnyak on May 23, 2011 · 6 comments

lego bank
Last week my bank got robbed.  That’s right for the 3rd time in my 10 year career in the financial services industry my bank branch got robbed.  Can you believe that people still rob banks?  We were recently warned that there was a man robbing various bank branches in the area and to be prepared…just in case.

The three bank robberies that I have experienced did not directly involve me because I work in the offices and not on the front line as a teller.  Bank tellers are always told to comply with all of the robber’s demands and just get them out of the branch as quick as possible.  Bank tellers are not supposed to ask questions or give any signals to other staff that they are being robbed.

Bank Robbery #1

The first bank robbery that I experienced was in my early 20’s.  Each teller had a panic button under their wicket which set off a silent alarm in the branch manager’s office when it was pressed.  When she received the alarm the branch manager told everyone in the offices to shut their door and close their lights, to prevent the bank robber from implicating any more staff members than was necessary.

The robber came in quietly and went directly to the commercial wicket, which is where the most money is held, he obviously did his research.  The bank robber handed the teller a note with instructions, she handed him the money in a bag and he was on his way out of the branch.  To any other client the bank robber looked just like a normal commercial client coming to get change for their business.

After the robbery was over another teller came over to the commercial teller and asked if she was alright because she had just got robber.  The funny thing about that was the commercial teller had not told anyone yet that she was robbed.  It was an inside job and the bank robber was actually the teller’s boyfriend. Needless to say he got caught, and she got fired.

Bank Robbery #2

The second bank robbery that I experienced was almost 2 years ago.  The bank robber came into the branch and waited in line.  When he approached the teller he told her to give him all the money and that he had a gun.  He did pull something out of his pocket, but the teller thought that it was a toy gun.  The teller was taking her time hoping that he would get frustrated and leave (which she is not supposed to do), he told her to hurry up and then he called her a name that rhymes with witch.  The teller was so offended that she decided to give him $5 bills and rolls of quarters.  The bank robber left with less than $1000 in coins and small bills. He was caught less than a week later when he robbed another bank branch.

Bank Robbery #3

Last week was my 3rd bank robbery experience, but it was my first experience with the crime scene investigator.  She didn’t look anything like Catherine Willows or Sarah Stokes from the popular CBS Television Show.  She was wearing coveralls, a hairnet, flat shoes, and a doctor’s mask.  She was working alone but she was accompanied by two police officers, one of who ended up taking a mortgage with our bank by the time the day was over.

Facts about Bank Robberies

  • If your bank is “closed for maintenance” or had a “power outage” they probably got robbed.
  • Bank Robbers don’t really get that much money because tellers do not keep a lot of cash in their drawers, for this particular reason.  Most bank branches have one centralized machine that dispenses money or only one teller who controls all of the money on the floor.
  • Banks have pre prepared “robbery bags” that we give to bank robbers.  The bills may not be sequenced but they have been previously identified and will be flagged if the bank robber ever spends the money.
  • The “robbery bag” no longer contains ink to destroy the money because banks cannot take the chance that the bank robber will return in an angry rage and possibly become violent.  The “robbery bag” controls the amount of a potential loss.
  • The days of wearing ski masks and coming in with weapons are over; nowadays bank robbers wait in line and appear to be a “normal” client. They are definitely nothing like you see in movies such as Takers and The Town.

The next time you are in line waiting to be served by a teller at your bank, look around.  The person standing in front of you or behind you may be in line to rob your bank.

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Photo by Pasukrau

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wil May 31, 2011 at 1:48 am

I came becuase the title got me. As a former bank guy I’ve been through several robberies. As a teacher for incarcerated youth, I often give a lesson on the opportunity cost of robbing a bank vs. getting a job as a teller at the same bank. Spoiler alert: You do way better working for the bank. Great post!

2 No Debt MBA May 31, 2011 at 8:57 am

To me, it definitely makes no sense to rob a bank and very likely spend years in prison when the take would be less than a year’s income for me. I love the idea of the pre made robbery bag. I’m also surprised that robbers don’t wear masks. Fascinating stuff.

3 Amanda L Grossman May 31, 2011 at 1:53 pm

What a horrible experience! I have never (knock on wood now:)) experienced a bank robbery.

As a side note, I love the movie Dick and Jane:).

4 Kristina May 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I also can’t beleive that we got robbed twice in one week. I guess some people are just greedy and selfish. At least no one was hurt and both robbers were caught.

5 URmom February 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

well i have been looking for a job for over a year and the only reason i am here and not looking for a job is because i have applied to EVERY job within a 50 mile radius for over a year and have only got 2 call backs, im siiting in a libray trying to stay warm and hoping this slob next to me leaves his bagle so i can eat today, and if i cant get 1 sone i will be robbing a bank, and it WILL be like all those movies cuz im not going to jail for 1000 so thanks for the advise bank workers ill be sure to get all the drawer and have u open that safe under the drive through window too, so if u see a ski mask start emtying them out or ur gona have a .45 hole in ur head for 12 a hour

6 Byron Wilts July 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

So bank robberies don’t sound too profitable. I’m willing to bet that they could be more profitable if someone was desperate enough for the cash. And URmom is a stoopid nigger.

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