According to the FBI, most modern-day bank robberies are "unsophisticated and unprofessional crimes," comitted by young male repeat offenders who apparently don't know the first thing about their business. This information was included in an interesting, amusing article titles "How Not to Rob a Bank," by Tim Clark, which appeared in the 1987 edition of The Old Farmers Almanac.
Clark reported that in spite of the widespread use of surveillance cameras, 76 percent of bank robbers use no disquise, 86 percent never study the bank before robbing it, and 95 percent make no long-range plans for concealing the loot. Thus, he offered this advice to would-be bank robbers, along with examples of what can happen if the rules aren't followed:
1. Pick the right bank. Clark advises that you don't follow the lead of the fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money. On the other hand, you don't want to be too familiar with the bank. A California robber ran into his mother while making his getaway. She turned him in.
2. Approach the right teller. Granted, Clark says, this is harder to plan. One teller in Springfield, Mass., followed the holdup man out of the bank and down the street until she saw him go into a restaurant. She hailed a passing police car, and the police picked him up. Another teller was given a holdup note by a robber, and her father, who was next in line, wrestled the man to the ground and sat on him until authorities arrived.
3. Don't sign your demand note. Demand notes have been written on the back of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in Pittsburgh, on an envelope bearing the name and address of another in Detriot, and in East Hartford, Conn., on the back of a withdrawal slip giving the robber's signature and account number.
4. Beware of dangerous vegetables. A man in White Plains, N.Y., tried to hold up a bank with a zucchini. The police captured him at his house, where he showed them his "weapon."
5. Avoid being fussy. A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a teller a note saying, "I have a gun. Give me all your twenties in this envelope." The teller said, "All I've got is two twenties." The robber took them and left.
6. Don't advertise. A holdup man thought that if he smeared mercury ointment on his face, it would make him invisible to the cameras. Actually, it accentuated his features, giving authorities a much clearer picture. Bank robbers in Minnesota and California tried to create a diversion by throwing stolen money out of the windows of their cars. They succeeded only in drawing attention to themselves.
7. Take right turns only. Avoid the sad fate of the thieves in Florida who took a wrong turn and ended up on the Homestead Air Force Base. They drove up to a military police guardhouse and, thinking it was a toolbooth, offered the security men money.
8. Provide your own transportation. It is not clever to borrow the teller's car, which she carefully described to police. This resulted in the most quickly solved bank robbery in the history of Pittsfield, Mass.
9. Don't be too sensitive. In these days of exploding dye packs, stuffing the cash into your pants can lead to embarrassing stains, Clark points out, not to mention severe burns in sensitive places--as bandits in San Diego and Boston painfully discovered.
10. Consider another line of work. One nervous Newport, R.I., robber, while trying to stuff his ill-gotten gains into his shirt pocket, shot himself in the head and died instantly. Then there was the case of the hopeful criminal in Swansea, Mass., who, when the teller told him she had no money, fainted. He was still unconscious when the police arrived.
In view of such ineptitude, it is not surprising that in 1978 and 1979, for example, federal and state officers made arrests in 69 percent of the bank holdups reported.
"Aim towards the Enemy." - Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher
"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend." - U.S. Army
"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground." - U.S.A.F. Ammo Troop
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your unit." - Army's magazine of preventive maintenance
"It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed." - U.S. Air Force Manual
"Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo." - Infantry Journal
"Tracers work both ways." - U.S. Army Ordnance
"Five-second fuses only last three seconds." - Infantry Journal
"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." - Col. David Hackworth
"If your attack is going too well, you're probably walking into an ambush." - Infantry Journal
"No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection." - Joe Gay
"Any ship can be a minesweeper ... once." - Anonymous
"Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do." - Unknown Army Recruit
"Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you." - Your Buddies
"If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him." - U.S. Ammo Troop
George W. was out jogging one morning along the parkway when he tripped, fell over the bridge railing and landed in the creek below.
Before the Secret Service guys could get to him, three kids, who were fishing, pulled him out of the water. He was so grateful he offered the kids whatever they wanted.
The first kid said, "I want to go to Disneyland."
George said, "No problem. I'll take you there on Air Force One".
The second kid said, "I want a new pair of Nike Air Jordan's."
George said, "I'll get them for you and even have Michael sign them!"
The third kid said, "I want a motorized wheelchair with a built-in TV and stereo headset!!"
Bush is a little perplexed by this and says, "But you don't look like you are handicapped."
The kid says, "I will be after my dad finds out I saved your ass from drowning!"
A US Air Force C-141 is scheduled to leave Thule Air Base, Greenland at midnight. During the pilot's preflight check, he discovers that the latrine holding tank is still full from the last flight. So a message is sent to the base and an airman who was off duty is called out to take care of it.
The young man finally gets to the air base and makes his way to the aircraft, only to find that the latrine pump truck has been left outdoors and is frozen solid, so he must find another one in the hangar, which takes even more time.
He returns to the aircraft and is less than enthusiastic about what he has to do. Nevertheless, he goes about the pumping job deliberately and carefully (and slowly) so as to not risk criticism later. As he's leaving the plane, the pilot stops him and says, "Son, your attitude and performance has caused this flight to be late and I'm going to personally see to it that you are not just reprimanded but punished."
Shivering in the cold, his task finished, he takes a deep breath, stands up tall and says, "Sir, with all due respect, I'm not your son; I'm an Airman in the United States Air Force. I've been in Thule, Greenland for 11 months without any leave, and reindeer are beginning to look pretty good to me. I have one stripe; it's two-thirty in the morning, the temperature is 40 degrees below zero and my job here is to pump shit from your aircraft. Now just exactly what form of punishment did you have in mind?"