Criminals ingnorant?

Just curious. We often see incidents where bank robbers are plastered when dye-packs explode in the money bags they heist.
Are we to believe that the robbers are just plain ignorant of these being placed in the bags or are they cleverly disguised to evade detection?
You don’t have to give away any trade secrets if you happen to know. It just seems pretty ignorant that so many of them are “surprised” by these things going off. :eek:

You have to understand that the majority of bank robbers are not criminal masterminds. Nor Bonnie and Clyde. They are just guys with a drug problem who need money fast. Their brains say “Need money. Bank has money.” They run into a bank and brandish a gun, screaming for money.

They are handed a money pack and run out again. They open it feverishly. Dye pack explodes. Purple robber.

No mystery.

And that is why many senior policemen privately believe we need to legalise and control the drugs we have made illegal. So addicts don’t have to commit robbery to get money to pay gangsters.

And so they won’t end up purple.

As someone once said, there is no intelligence test given when you apply to become a criminal.

To quote my friend who works in Legal Aid:

“criminals… are mostly stupid.”

Not to mention that banks have 80 security cameras, inside and out, and a staff trained to observe details that will help make it easy to capture a robber.

Banks are easy to rob, because most of them they don’t try to stop you. They’ve focused on protecting employees from violence and worrying about catching you later. According to the Justice Department (warning - PDF), the clearance rate for robberies is higher than for any other crime.

As others have said, most of these are not committed by criminal masterminds but by drug addicts who need quick cash. Be thankful they’re not smart enough to realize that the success rate is higher if they break into your house or mug you.

This. A friend of mine is a bank teller. She was held up a few years ago by a guy she recognized. Turns out he had robbed the same bank years ago and did time. When he held her up he had just been released earlier that day. The clothes he was wearing matched the clothes he was videotaped in as he left prison. The guy literally went from the prison to his next “heist”. He was arrested the next day when he checked in with his parole officer.

There was an article in a mens magazine (don’t remember which one but probably Maxim) that explained how to rob a bank. Concerning planted items (dye packs, tracking devices) it said “If it doesn’t bend, it doesn’t spend”. In other words you can easily detect the stack of bills with the plant in it by trying to bend it.

That isn’t correct, or at least not universally correct. I worked as a bank teller for Chase Manhattan. The dye packs there are only inflexible in the center, and all packs of money are fairly inflexible in the center. There is a difference but a subtle one. The dye packs “flip” like any other stack of bills. I promise if you stand there inspectng every pack of bills you get, to determine if one of them is slightly less flexible than the others, you will be arrested before you even get out of the bank. Silent alarms can be triggered by foot.

BTW, the packs we used did not explaode paint with a splat (as seen in “Speed”). It was aerosolized, and also exuded tear gas at the same time. The tear gas function is triggered when the robber leaves the bank.

So it would be best to have the teller open the packs and dump the loose bills in a bag then?

Personally, I would just tell the teller “If there are any dye packs in there, I’m coming back to kill you.”

I would think that would be sufficient.

They never disclose how much money is taken in these robberies. I assume it’s at least in the hundreds; could it be in the thousands?

I worked in a bank too, in one of my former lives. Most bank robbers get small amounts of money. That’s why the cashiers don’t behave heroically. Why die to protect a couple of grand?

The bank just charges customers more interest and charges to cover robbery losses. Remember that the next time you hear of a bank robbery - you are paying for it, not the bank.

And most robbers either don’t have masks, or they put on/take off their masks in full view of the cameras in the entrance. These are not Nobel prize-winners - just drug addicts who need money fast.

Banks have insurance to cover robberies. So it’s not your interest rates that go up, it’s your insurance premiums. :slight_smile:

No, in most cases they cover small losses themselves. However, as you suggest, either way you are paying.

A while back I heard an otherwise intelligent man cheering when he heard the local bank had been robbed. Like many uneducated idiots, he thought of high street banks as “rich people” not money shops. I explained to him in words of one syllable, that he would be paying for the robbery, not some rich banker with a top hat.

You just did about 1,000 times more planning than the average person who tries to rob a bank. Seriously, you look like a bank-robbing Einstein. And bank robbers are pretty organized compared to convenience store holdups.

From teller training - a co-trainee told me, that his bank was robbed. Then it was robbed again. The first robber was arrested because he was inside the bank as a customer during the 2nd robbery, and was identified during the investigation. Yes, he robbed the bank he banks at AND went back there after he did so.

Then there are the Wile E. Coyote Super Geniuses who give tellers a holdup note, not realizing that personal identifying information appears on the back of the note.

This guy did however think to warn the teller not to include a “die bomb” and to not look at him. Excellent strategy!

The following is a story related by an ex-carpool member, who worked at a bank.

A guy decides to go robbing. He starts by pulling a gun at a donut shop. Unfortunately, the person behind the counter is the owner, who tells him where he can stick his gun.

The guy doesn’t want to shoot anyone, and in his frustration he grabs a big pink box of donuts off of the counter and takes off. The owner calls in the theft.

Now the guy still needs cash and starts thinking that bank employees have orders not to tell him where he can stick his gun. So he goes to the bank, still carrying the big pink box of donuts.

He robs the bank and takes off, walking. By then the cops have his discription from the great donut robbery and, seeing him with the big pink box, pull over and start talking to him. While they’re talking to him, the call comes over the radio about the bank robbery, and how the robber was carrying a big pink donut box.

End of story. I suppose the moral of the story is to let go of the big pink box.

I think it’s pretty clear that carrying a big box of donuts will attract every cop in town.

The average bank robbery takes in about $4000. That is a lot of muggings. The individual muggings has a higher success rate but you have to mug about 50 to 200 people to get the same amount of money. I would wonder about the success rate per $1000 or something like that. It would be interesting to know which is actually safer.

If that’s true, then why exactly does a teller need to have ~ $4,000 at her instant disposal? I’m sure the banks have this all worked out, but it seems strange to me that the average on-hand amount is that large. Why isn’t it more limited?

I’ve heard a story about someone who tried to hold up a doughnut shop. Within about 2 seconds he was facing down a whole row of police arguing over who got to take him in. Or so the story goes.