how to rob a bank

How to hide $1 million in notes

If you’re a bank robber in the US. And you steal $1 million in $100 notes. And you need somewhere to hide it. Then this post is for you. If you’re none of those things, at least it’s interesting to see where in your house you might be able to stash that cash.

It fits in a microwave.

Via.

The inner workings of a bank robber

This is a fascinating account of the life and times of a successful bank robber from Wired. It’s fascinating. It’ll doubtless become a movie one day. Unless Oceans 11 is this guy’s story played by 11 characters (which it’s not, because it’s a remake of a rat pack movie).

Blanchard also learned how to turn himself into someone else. Sometimes it was just a matter of donning a yellow hard hat from Home Depot. But it could also be more involved. Eventually, Blanchard used legitimate baptism and marriage certificates — filled out with his assumed names — to obtain real driver’s licenses. He would even take driving tests, apply for passports, or enroll in college classes under one of his many aliases: James Gehman, Daniel Wall, or Ron Aikins. With the help of makeup, glasses, or dyed hair, Blanchard gave James, Daniel, Ron, and the others each a different look.

Over the years, Blanchard procured and stockpiled IDs and uniforms from various security companies and even law enforcement agencies. Sometimes, just for fun and to see whether it would work, he pretended to be a reporter so he could hang out with celebrities. He created VIP passes and applied for press cards so he could go to NHL playoff games or take a spin around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with racing legend Mario Andretti. He met the prince of Monaco at a yacht race in Monte Carlo and interviewed Christina Aguilera at one of her concerts.

Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.

Cool stories from the news

I have starred a bunch of news stories in the last few weeks that were cool but probably not quite worthy of individual posts (in my opinion) in order to clear my queue a bit I’ll post them all at once.

The Brazillian Soccer Heist

Have you seen any bank robbery movies where the robbers tunnel their way into the vault from a vacant neighbouring building? These thieves had. If I was a bank I would be buying up neighbouring businesses and being very careful about who I rented them out to.

Thieves in Brazil have stolen more than $6m (£3.7m) from a cash delivery firm, taking advantage of the nation’s passion for football, police say.

Police believe the thieves – who had dug a tunnel into the firm’s building – struck when season-ending matches were played in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A security guard later told local media he had heard a loud noise but thought it was fireworks lit by fans.

Farmer plants land mines to thwart potato thieves
Only in Russia is it better to maim small children than have your potatos stolen. How else will you make the vodka that keeps you warm in those long winter months.

A Russian farmer has been convicted of planting landmines around his field to ward off trespassers.

Alexander Skopintsev, from the eastern region of Primorye near China’s border, laid the three devices on his land after building them in his garage.

The 73-year-old had apparently been concerned about the frequent theft of potatoes from his farm.

Ex Power Ranger challenges JCVD to MMA fight
That headline was just fun to write. Did you ever watch the “celebrity deathmatch” claymotion series? It was pretty dumb. It pitted sometimes obscure celebs against each other in wrestling matches that resulted in the untimely deaths of one or both of the clay figurines. This little incident is a bad case of life imitating art. It’s B grade meets D grade in a battle for martial art mediocrity.

The guy issuing the challenge is former White Ranger Jason David Frank, who tells TMZ, he’s had it out for Van Damme ever since 1995 when the Muscles from Brussels — who had been Frank’s childhood hero — allegedly blew him off during the premiere of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.”

As TMZ previously reported, Frank is now a scary-looking MMA fighter who has a fight next weekend in the Octagon — and Van Damme is reportedly looking to make his own pro fighting debut … so the timing couldn’t be better for Frank to settle the score.



Tattoo artist father wants to create a tattoo using his son’s ashes as ink

Creepy? Macarbe? Heartwarming? I can’t decide. A UK tattoo artist plans to turn his son’s ashes into tattoo ink so that he can recreate a photo of his son as a tattoo both for himself, and his wife.

A father from Herefordshire is to have a portrait of his dead son tattooed on his chest using the child’s ashes.

Mark Richmond, 39, and his wife Lisa, 31, said they wanted to do something as a lasting tribute to their son Ayden.

The couple, who own a tattoo parlour in Greater Manchester, plan to mix some of Ayden’s ashes in the ink for a 7in black and white portrait of him.

A journalistic gem

This, friends, is a fine piece of journalism. A reporter has tracked down and interviewed members of an internatiaonal cabal of diamond thieves to produce a stunning picture of the life of Yugoslavian professional criminals.

It does seem eerily similar to a bunch of Mafia “confessionals” that I read when I wanted to write a Mafia novel. The accounts from the gangsters perhaps suffer a little from their slightly myopic and glorified storytelling. But it’s well worth a read.

The heist alone is worthy of detailed retelling (and will no doubt be the plot line of Oceans 14) – from the story:

Each member of the gang did his or her job perfectly. The attractive young woman seduced the son of the jewelry store owner in Rome to find out where the safe was in the owner’s house. She also discovered that the owner needed builders for repairs. Some of the others secured the renovation contract and cased the house. The get-away driver spent weeks learning every one-way road and stop sign in downtown Rome. And eventually the safe-cracker, the smallest in the group, hid himself inside a false-bottomed chest that the others left on the balcony of a bedroom where the safe was located.

As luck would have it, he didn’t even have to break into the safe, which was hidden behind a painting. The jeweller’s other son left it open for 15 minutes, plenty of time for the diminutive safe-cracker to remove the diamonds and make his escape to the street, where the driver was waiting for him. Back in their rented apartment in Ostia, near the Fiumicino airport outside Rome, the gang met up and celebrated.

The heist was the work of a subgroup of a network of criminals dubbed the Pink Panthers. In the last ten years these guys stole $340 million worth of jewelry in 160 robberies in 26 countries.

Some of the quotes from the criminals are just priceless…

“Any good robbery should take up to 20 seconds.”

Another said that having a nickname and reputation in the media will be the death of the gang:

“When they give you a name you’re in big trouble,” he said, as he finished up a dinner of fresh sea bass at the seaside restaurant and lit a cigarette. “Because every single small policeman is trying to catch you. We lost a lot of guys because of that name. Some of our co-workers got drunk in casinos and were bragging about it, thinking they are something. It’s better to be nothing. The best criminals are those who stay out of prison.”

How to rob a bank – Swedish style

Bank robbers are a misunderstood breed. They’re nothing like the bogans in Two Hands… Hollywood was closer in the movie “How to Rob a Bank…” that I reviewed a while back.

A very professional gang in Sweden did it this way (and got $150 million in the process):

  1. Dressed as ninjas
  2. Stole a helicopter
  3. Abseiled onto the roof of the building – which was essentially a money storage facility, the kind Scrooge McDuck used to bathe in.
  4. Smashed through the glass pyramid on top.
  5. Used explosives to access the money.
  6. Climbed back up the ropes.
  7. Escaped.

But that’s not the best bit. The best bit is that they delayed the pursuers by:

  1. Putting sharp stuff all over the road outside the depot.
  2. Putting a bag marked “Bomb” outside the police station’s helipad, which had to be investigated and the helicopter staff were evacuated.

Two men have since been “questioned” by police, it seems they’re not the actual robbers but may have been involved. The best quote in the story about the robbery is this one from a criminologist:

“They are definitely no amateurs.”

You think?

Review: How To Rob A Bank

The full title – How To Rob A Bank: And Ten Tips To Actually Get Away With It.

Coming in at the perfect length (an hour and 12 minutes) this bank robbery caper would have been incredibly cheap to produce – it’s the movie Phone Booth would have been if it was a bank robbery comedy, only it’s got the recently departed David Carradine as the mastermind on the other end of the phone rather than Keither Sutherland (thanks Kutz).

It’s clever, entertaining, and beautifully shot. The script keeps things moving, the jokes are well executed. It’s not long so it’s worth a watch.

The ten tips – for those wondering… (with some slight language modifications)…

  1. Decide to rob a bank.
  2. Have a plan.
  3. Have a back-up plan.
  4. Establish clear communications.
  5. Choose your partners carefully.
  6. Expect the unexpected.
  7. Stuff happens.
  8. Don’t get greedy.
  9. Remember, stuff happens.
  10. Hang up and know when to walk away

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