Robbing a bank is a quick, easy way to make some cash – for about five minutes.

Surveillance photo from bank robbery/Ryn Gargulinski

Surveillance photo from bank robbery/Ryn Gargulinski

Well, it may take a tad longer for the police to catch you. But they most likely will.

“We are very successful in catching bank robbers, ” said Tucson police Sgt. Fabian Pacheco. “The majority of the time they are caught.”

After all, he added, police are handed handy photos of the folks from the surveillance cameras.

Bank employees may get a bit suspicious if a customer saunters in wearing pantyhose over his head, so most robbers have their faces in plain view.

Unless the robber immediately soaks his face in caustic acid to eat away the features, there’s a pretty good chance someone somewhere is going to recognize the thief.

Pacheco added it’s even easier if you know where to look, which is around drug circles, as many rob banks to feed a habit.

Tucson averages two to three bank robberies each month. Police stats for 2009 put bank robberies at 22; we had 40 in 2008, perhaps a bit increased due to the recession; and 2007 totaled out at 33.

Surveillance photo from bank robbery/submitted photo

Surveillance photo from bank robbery/submitted photo

Folks think it’s easy to get away with the money – because it is.

“Some of the banks procedures are to have employees comply with robber demands,” Pacheco said. “To get them out of the bank so no one gets hurt.”

A panic alarm gets police on the scene pretty quickly and the money, even if it is never recovered, is covered by the FDIC.

Some robbers make it even easier for the police. How nice.

One incredibly smart dude in Tucson robbed a bank by writing out his robbery demand note on the back of his own bank deposit slip. So cliché.

Another Tucson bank robber was a bit more original. He used regular paper to write out his demand note, which read: “Give me $100, $50, $20.”

So the teller handed him a single $100 bill, a single $50 and a single $20. He took them and left.

Surveillance photo of bank robbery/submitted photo

Surveillance photo of bank robbery/submitted photo

Other dumb bank robberies across the nation, as noted on, include:

One man who spent 10 months in prison for robbing a bank, only to get out and go rob the exact same bank. Guess he wanted to see if he could get it right the second time around.

A robber who needed to hitch a ride as his getaway after robbing a bank – which is dumb enough on its own – ended up hitching a ride from an undercover cop.

A nervous Nellie thief who was frazzled enough to leave something at the scene – his wallet.

Police found a treasure trove of info inside the wallet, including the guy’s driver’s license, his Social Security card and a criminal registration card.

One more genius robber was noted on This robber was especially brilliant because of his day job – he was a rookie cop for the New York City Police Department.

At least the bank he robbed wasn’t in the Big Apple, but rather in Muhlenberg Township, Penn. Christian Torres threatened two tellers with his gun, which may have been police issued, until they handed over $113,000.

Surveillance photo of bank robbery/submitted photo

Surveillance photo /submitted photo

They also hit the panic button, so police were on the scene to arrest Torres just as he was pulling out of the parking lot.

The bank got their money back and Torres was suspended from the police force without pay.

Now we hope the suspension was only temporary until the investigation is complete and he gets his butt fired. Otherwise we have something even dumber than the botched robbery here.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who thinks going to a light fixture store is more exciting than going to a bank. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at E-mail

logoHave you ever tried to rob a bank? What happened?

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