By Melodie Campbell (who successfully disguised herself as a bank manager for several years…)
One of the great things about managing a bank is the interesting people you meet. By this I mean, bank robbers and other villains.
One fraud artist of my acquaintance was affectionately nicknamed Father Guido Sarducci. Father Guido was indeed a priest, and one of the most personable guys I’ve ever met. Friendly, he knew everyone by name, and always had a kind word for the tellers. Half of us switched churches just so he would hear our confessions.
We adored him. When he came looking for funds to ‘renovate the parish hall,’ we were thrilled to help. Unfortunately, so were twelve other banks. The bookies were even more thrilled. When it finally became apparent that most of the funds were going to renovate the casinos in Vegas, Father Guido got the boot. I think he now preaches from the local jail.
I don’t know what it was about our particular branch, but we seemed to attract all the novice stick-up artists. As a matter of fact, I seriously considered installing a sign in the front window: “Experienced Bank Robbers ONLY.” The situation became even more complicated when the teller in question had the savvy and intelligence of a Hershey Bar.
The following is a verbatim – this is the truth – account of a conversation that took place between one of my tellers and an extremely dangerous bank robber:
Robber (waving large gun threateningly): “This is a robbery. Gimme your money.”
Barb (watching the clock for her break): “How much do you want?”
Robber (flustered): “How much do you got?”
Barb: “Well, if I run this little card through here, I can get a thousand dollars.”
Robber: “D’ya think you could run it through twice?”
Barb (bored): “I can try.”
I have a theory that my customer service reps were in fact members of an elite corps put through special training to psych out villains. This is the only way I can explain the behaviour of Carmen, our most efficient teller, when a potential robber shoved a green withdrawal form across the counter.
“Read the back,” he said.
She did. It was the standard note. (Do they all go to the same school?):
‘This is a stick-up. I’ve got a gun. Give me all your money.’
Whereupon, Carmen turned over the withdrawal form, pointed to the bottom, and said in a totally bored voice, “You forgot to sign.”
Of course, he had to put down the gun in order to pick up the pen, and….
The best story I’ve heard in banking circles involved a seasoned bank robber in Boston. This guy was a master. He was also highly successful, with the Rolex watch, the Gucci shoes, and the loaded getaway car. A devotee of the in-and-out school of bank robbery, he would time himself to under a minute.
Unfortunately, on this particularly job, he was not the only professional on the block. Out the door with several thousand in a respectable 45 seconds, he stopped dead at the curb, staring at empty space. His car had been stolen.
Melodie Campbell writes funny books about the mob. The Goddaughter’s Revenge, winner of the Derringer and Arthur Ellis awards, is available at Chapters, Amazon and Barnes&Noble. www.melodiecampbell.com