Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Copycat Bank Robber Steals Technique From Earlier Heist But Overlooks Final Step

CHICAGO (AP) -- The robber's threatening note made a Chicago bank job easy to solve: The FBI says the suspect wrote it on his pay stub. An FBI affidavit said the man walked into a Fifth Third Bank on Friday and handed a teller a note that read ''Be Quick Be Quit (sic). Give your cash or I'll shoot.''

The robber got about $400 but left half of his note. Investigators found the other half outside the bank's front doors. Authorities say that part of the man's October pay stub had his name and address.

The suspect was arrested at his Cary home. At his arraignment the suspect said he learned how to rob a bank from a news story he read where an otherwise successful robber was nabbed when he wrote his demand note on the back of one of his own deposit slips. The suspect said he wasn't going to make that kind of dumb mistake, so he left his own checkbook and deposit slips at home when he went to the bank to cash his own paycheck. He decided to go ahead with the robbery since he was already there and had a great parking place just outside the bank's main entrance. "Everything just sort of came together and I knew it was now or never," according to the suspect.

A judge ordered him held without bond Monday pending a court psychologist's determination if the suspect qualifies for the Stupid Crooks School, an experimental Illinois state program to rehabilitate really stupid criminals. Jeffrey Murdoch, who designed the program said, "If we can get them in school before they commit a really, really stupid crime, like murder, or rape, or bicycle theft, we have a 50/50 chance of teaching them how to commit petty crimes without getting caught. That takes another potential criminal off the streets and out of the criminal justice system. Most people will overlook petty crime but strenuously object to being murdered or raped," said Murdoch.

"If convicted of bank robbery, the perp here faces 20 years in prison and then we are talking about big bucks," according to the court bailiff. "Banks are in the business of robbing people, and have federal or state charters authorizing them to do it. They get away with it because if they become insolvent, all their executives' golden parachutes have to be paid off with bailout funds provided by the people, which costs more than the comparatively few billions they steal," according to the bailiff, Jim Jones, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It's a simple cost-benefit analysis. I took economics at Stanford before getting into bailiffing and those guys can turn a pig's ear into a silk purse. All you have to do is apply cost-benefit analysis."

Also contributing to this story: Ponce de Leon in Corral Gables, Fla.

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