Strange stories of robbers and their getaways (The Funny Side)
I saw cops chasing a guy down the street the other day. My first thought was, “Man, those guys are going to get great scores on their fitness band.”
Police and robbers should agree to a 30-second window between any actual bank robbery and the ensuing chase to give time for both sides to turn their step-counters on. Robber: “Ready, chap?” Cops: “Wait. Just need to click this. Okay, let’s do this thing.”
Two days later, a reader sent me a news item from Florida on a related subject. A young female bank robber had no getaway car — so persuaded her dad to drive her to and from the bank “for a job interview”. She robbed the bank and leapt back into the car, telling him that the cash she was holding was her salary in advance. The conversation must have been interesting: “Hi sweetheart, how’d the interview go?” “Fine thanks, Dad, now DRIVE GO GO GO GO GO.” (Bullets fly.)
This writer canvassed sources for other offbeat getaways and a colleague shared an odd one from Ecuador. A professional footballer was in the middle of a game last month when police arrived to arrest him for non-payment of alimony. He pretended to become injured (footballers spend most of their training hours practising this) and was transferred by stretcher to an ambulance while police watched helplessly from the other side of the field.
But perhaps the most cost-effective getaway of recent times was a curious theft in India this summer. Bank security guards put a large cash payment in a tightly secured train carriage. Robbers sitting on the roof of the moving train cut a hole into the carriage, snatched the money, and then jumped off. They were a huge distance away when the robbery was discovered — and they hadn’t spent a cent on a getaway car.
Someone reading over my shoulder (GO AWAY) has just referred me to a case from Kent in 2008. The robbers had a regular getaway car, but used a driver who just didn’t have the right mindset for car chases. They were only about 250 metres from the place they’d raided when a traffic light turned red. The driver stopped the car and politely signalled right to show pursuers which way they were going. Police caught them within minutes.
Also in 2008 was a case in Malaysia where robbers used a getaway car that was too small for all the money they had stolen. And there was a 2012 case in Texas where a bank customer got so scared during an armed robbery that she ran outside and drove away in the first car she could find — which turned out to be the robbers’ getaway car.
But going back to escaping on foot, a long run through the centre of any city will boost your score on Pokemon Go and provide good opportunities to distract police officers chasing you. Robber (glancing at smartphone screen): “Oh my goodness, there’s a legendary Articuno, a Pokemon which has never been caught.” Cop: “Where? I mean, stop, there!” (Cops slow down and pull out phones.)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a taxi to work, waving my fitness band out of the window all the way.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send comments and ideas via his Facebook page)