A 28-year-old man claiming his backpack contained a bomb walked away from five bank robberies with nearly $9,000 between mid-September and early October. Federal charging papers describe the simple plan: The crook slipped tellers a note that said his pack contained explosives and that he was willing to blow the bank to smithereens if he didn’t receive “100’s, 50’s, and 20’s.” On September 30, the faux bomber left the pack in the bank before he fled, forcing police to evacuate the building and shut down Seattle streets. No bomb, but unfortunately for the backpacker he left his fingerprints, which detectives were able to trace to him. He surrendered via a Capitol Hill payphone in late October.
Why waste time writing a holdup note before a robbery, when you can do it at the bank, where there’s paper, pens, and a nice little counter-cum-writing-desk? One orange-snowball-capped crook authored his moneymaking missive on a deposit slip (“Give me all your money or I’ll shoot your head off”) and gave it to a teller. When she turned over the loot, he told her to go to the back of the bank, which she did, after a quick detour to the silent alarm button. The robber bolted for the street, where the dye pack secreted in his haul exploded, painting him red. The bandit’s crime against fashion—orange snowball cap!—was caught on camera, but as of early November, he’s still at large.
A man who gained notoriety for his “waddle”-like walk in 30 bank robberies over three years in Oregon and Washington got his comeuppance in October. Federal sentencing papers suggest that investigators suspect the man—a former Vancouver, Washington, 911 dispatcher—faked the waddle to throw the cops off his trail. The unarmed bandit, who simply handed tellers a typed demand note, also employed theatrical makeup so that “his nose appeared distorted,” painted liquid bandage on his fingertips to cover prints, and cycled through mismatched thrift-store clothes during each getaway. For his ingenuity, the master of disguise earned himself 10 years in prison.
The Craigslist post advertised $28.50 an hour for laborers needed for a landscape project near a Bank of America in Monroe. Workers were told to wear blue, long-sleeve shirts, yellow vests, goggles, and respiratory masks. But when a dozen recruits showed up on September 30 there was no crew boss to be found. The “boss,” meanwhile, also dressed in the prescribed attire, had other plans. The Craigs poster pepper-sprayed an armored-truck guard, yanked the guard’s money bag, and barreled toward a nearby creek (and may have fled on an inner tube). When the cops arrived they found a mob of unsuspecting decoys who all fit the robber’s description. The bandit was apprehended early last month.