28 May 2016

Bank Robbers I have known...

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.”

Robber: “Thanks.”

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

 On Amazon


  1. Great stories, Melodie. I laughed out loud.

  2. Thanks, Paul! All true. We really should have gotten danger pay.


  3. Blessed are the wicked, for they shall entertain the rest of us.

  4. You should copyright that line, Leigh!

  5. I had no idea banking was so amusing and so full of inspiration!

  6. Melodie, loved the stories.

    My wife, who was a VP for a credit union got robbed one day. What she didn't know until afterwards was that one of her tellers, who had moved from Chicago, always carried a gun in her purse. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the robber did not approach that teller's station. I showed up for coffee two minutes later. Beat the local cops, but missed the robber who left on foot. They caught him three years later down in Texas.

  7. RT, that's a story! Tell your wife that I actually foiled a robbery some years ago. Two suspicious looking fellows were obviously casing the joint. It was a Sat, so really busy. I went right up to them and asked in my best bully-teacher voice if I could help them. They saw my hard eyes, and shook their heads and left.Then robbed the variety store next door :) But got caught because I alerted the police. Funny, the vibes you get when you're in the job a long time.

  8. YOu forgot to sign... lovely. Just read about two women who shoplifted and were chased out by a store guard. The husband of one of the robbers tried to run him down, but instead hit his own wife. She got away but left her ID in the parking lot...

    But speaking of bank robberies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjZAbeGcxEo&feature=youtu.be

  9. Melodie, I wrote a story using the scenario of a teller asking the thief to fill out a withdrawal slip before she gave him the money. I thought I was being funny. Never stopped to think that this may be close to reality. Thanks for the morning laugh.

  10. Thank you for my afternoon giggle!

    I have my own bank robbery story. Back when I went to Ryerson, I was walking through the TD Centre on my way to meet my mother after work. When it was too hot or too cold or too rainy (or I felt like window shopping) I'd make my way to Wellington and York via connected malls and concourses. Suddenly shots rang out and I knew why they say shots ring. The sound reverberated in the enclosed space like a struck bell.

    I flinched at the sound, then froze in fear. Only my eyes moved for the next few seconds. They noticed the cops, the crowd and finally the camera. They were shooting Silent Partner (Christopher Plummer and Elliot Gould).

  11. Great stories, Melodie! Thank goodness the criminals in mysteries don't have to be as dim-witted as most real criminals are. Every case would be solved by the middle of page two.

  12. Herschel, too funny! I wish you could have met Carmen. 4 feet something, short dark hair, built like a water tank. Every bad kid's nightmare.

  13. Hysterical as always, Miss Mel!
    Can't stop grinning ear to ear...


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