How Not to Rob a Bank

Learn how not to rob a bank with these humorous tips from failed bank robberies!

Bank Robbery Lessons from Failed Bank Robbers

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With tongue in cheek, we present six easy rules to follow when robbing a bank, along with instructive examples of what can go wrong. These lessons are gleaned from attempts by would-be famous bank robbers.

The Perfect Bank Robbery

1. Pick the Right bank

Don’t make the same mistake as the fellow in Anaheim, California, who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money.

2. Keep Family Out of It

A California robber ran into his mother while he was making his getaway. She turned him in.

3. Arm Yourself … With a Squash. 

A man in White Plains, New York, held up a bank with a zucchini. Successfully. A gun wasn’t necessary: Most bank clerks are compliant and hand over the loot rather than risk harm to themselves, colleagues, or customers. Plus, additional criminal charges apply to gun-toting robbers, if caught. Which the zuke-slinger was, at his home.

4. Make Mapping Your Quest

Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who took a wrong turn into Homestead Air Force Base, drove up to the military police guardhouse, and, thinking it was a tollbooth, offered the security men money.

5. Become a Master of Disguise

One would-be thief thought that if he smeared a mercury ointment on his face, he would be invisible to the cameras. Actually, it accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture of him.

6. Bring a Bag

In these days of exploding dye packets, stuffing the cash into your pants pockets can lead to embarrassing stains, not to mention severe burns in sensitive places. Or so bandits from San Diego and Boston painfully discovered.

Remember, the easiest way to get money is to make it the old-fashioned way: Earn it. Maybe by working at a bank!

Did you read this page because you wanted to be careful not to make a fool of yourself during your next bank heist? To keep from embarrassing yourself in daily conversation, see if you’re messing up on any of these common malapropisms.

About The Author

Tim Clark

Tim Clark (1950-2021) began work as an editor and writer at Yankee Publishing in 1980. During his 41 years here, he was a prolific contributor to both Yankee Magazine and the Old Farmer's Almanac. Read More from Tim Clark

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