Bank Robbery Plans Foiled By Modern Day Tech
The idea of bank robbery has been immortalized in American consciousness for decades. From movies, books, film, video games, music, robbers have been seen as everything as thugs to noble outlaw figures sticking it to an unjust society. The idea probably appeals to us for several reasons- the appeal of living outside of society’s norms and doing as we please, massive amounts of easy money, the thrill of the crime. Sadly, the reality is often very different than what’s depicted in fiction. Robbers are rarely the noble, swarthy figures depicted in films like Bonnie and Clyde or Inside Man. Rather, they’re desperate people looking for easy money, and they only rarely get away with it. Thanks to modern video surveillance, money tracking, and extensive communication networks between law enforcement mean the idea of sticking up a bank and fleeing into the wind is a thing of the past. Bank robberies have a 60% clearance rate, higher than almost any other felony.
Take this man in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He robbed a bank at around 4:30 on a Wednesday. Within an hour, even though he’d fled the scene, police knew who he was to thanks to the cameras around the bank and criminal database they had to reference him. They quickly issued a warrant for his arrest and found a lead soon after that. They arrested him before noon on Thursday, not even 24 hours since he’d committed the robbery. No doubt he thought he’d be able to walk into the bank and get away scott free with the money. Instead, he’s going to be facing criminal charges in a Wisconsin court where, according to the criminal defense lawyers Kohler, Hart, and Powell, he may be looking at 25 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, and a revocation of his constitutional right to bear arms if he’s convicted. Due to the slew of evidence against him, he almost certainly will be.
Interestingly, the idea that you can get away with it isn’t the only part that the movies get wrong. The typical movie robbery involves a crew of ganger members running in guns blazing, ordering everyone to get on the ground, and telling the trembling worker to empty everything they have in the vault. In reality, over half of bank robberies are committed by people working alone, and in a third of them, the robber doesn’t even have a weapon! In fact, the most common way to rob a bank is simply giving the teller a note stating that they’re being robbed. Since most bank policies state to go along with the request in such a request, it seems like an easy, pain-free method… until the police show up, of course.
I doubt anyone reading this was planning to attempt a bank robbery, but if you were, hopefully, this piece has been enough to dissuade you. The rewards aren’t worth it, the risks are too great, and you’re far more likely to be on the front page news than a cool Butch Cassidy figure.