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What is bank robbery?

What is Bank Robbery?

Bank robbery is when someone steals money from a bank. It usually involves force, threats, weapons, or intimidation to get the money. Bank robbers are after the cash in the vaults and teller drawers. They want to get in and out as fast as possible with as much loot as they can grab, just like in the movies!

Bank robbery is a federal crime in the United States under Title 18 of the U.S. Code. There are several laws that make robbing any kind of FDIC insured bank illegal. Some key parts of the law say that anyone who takes money “by force and violence, or by intimidation” from a bank whose deposits are insured by the FDIC can get up to 20 years in prison, and possibly even life if someone gets killed or kidnapped during the robbery.

Banks keep getting better security but people still try to rob them all the time. In 2021, there were over 300 bank robberies just in California alone! People do it for all kinds of reasons – some robbers are drug addicts looking for fast cash, some are first-timers who got desperate, and some are career criminals who rob banks over and over as their “job.” Criminals who rob multiple banks often get called “serial bank robbers.”

How Bank Robberies Typically Go Down

Most bank robberies go down like you see in the movies, with the robber walking in and demanding money from the tellers. They usually pass a note or verbally tell the teller something like “Give me all your 50s and 100s or I’ll start shooting!” The robber often shows a weapon like a gun or bomb to threaten the tellers into handing over the cash quickly.

Smart robbers target the banks during busy times when they know lots of cash will be available. They often hit the bank right before closing time or on Fridays when banks stock up for the weekend. The robber usually tries to get in and out in just a couple minutes. They know the police will be coming fast!

Some robbers come in wearing masks or disguises to hide their faces from security cameras. Bandanas, hats, sunglasses, and hoodies are common. After getting the money, they flee the scene fast – often in a stolen getaway car parked right outside the bank doors. Then it’s off to hide and enjoy the loot!

Famous Bank Robbers in History

Some bank robbers have become famous folk heroes known for their daring heists. Here are a few of the most legendary bank robbers from history:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
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Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
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Bee L
Bee L
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divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Bonnie and Clyde – This couple robbed tons of banks and stores across America’s Midwest and South in the 1930s. They became famous for their crimes during the Great Depression.
  • John Dillinger – One of the FBI’s first Public Enemies, Dillinger terrorized banks in the Midwestern U.S. in the 1930s and evaded capture for years.
  • Jesse James – An outlaw in the 1800s, Jesse James was a legendary figure known for robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches across the Midwest.
  • Willie Sutton – This clever criminal robbed over 100 banks from the 1920s to 1950s, often escaping police in creative ways. He was known for dressing up in disguises.

While some bank robbers become famous, most end up getting caught eventually. Modern security technology makes it much harder for robbers to evade police and the FBI like in the old days.

How to Rob a Bank (But You Really Shouldn’t!)

We don’t recommend ever robbing a bank! But here are some tips criminals use if you want to understand how bank heists go down:

  • Case the bank beforehand – Scope out the security, layout, employees, etc.
  • Disguise your appearance – Wear a mask, hat, hoodie, etc.
  • Target cash drawers – Tellers often have $5-10k available.
  • Use a threatening note – Demand money without saying much.
  • Brandish a weapon – Show a gun, bomb, etc. to intimidate.
  • Getaway vehicle – Have a fast car ready for your escape.
  • Lay low – Hide out in a safehouse until the heat dies down.

Robbing a bank requires careful planning and lack of morals. Even then, most bank robbers get caught within a couple months! The FBI has a 90% success rate catching bank bandits with today’s technology.

Why Robbing Banks is a Bad Idea

Trying to rob a bank can ruin your life. Here are some reasons you should find a legal way to make money instead of turning to bank robbery:

  • You will very likely get caught – The FBI catches 9 out of 10 bank robbers thanks to security cameras, tracking technology, and good old fashioned police work.
  • You could get shot – Many banks have armed security guards who will fire back if threatened.
  • Innocent people may be hurt – Your actions could endanger the lives of bank employees and customers.
  • You’ll go to prison – Bank robbery carries stiff penalties, including years or even life behind bars.
  • It creates trauma and fear – Robberies traumatize the innocent bank tellers and customers.
  • The money doesn’t last – You’ll have to live life on the run and most loot gets recovered.

Instead of risking everything for a quick payout by robbing a bank, find legal ways to improve your money situation. Get a job, borrow from friends or family, take out a personal loan, win the lottery – anything is better than bank robbery!

Defenses and Loopholes

Bank robbers will use any defense they can to avoid or reduce charges. Some common defenses include:

  • Mental illness – Claiming insanity or diminished mental capacity.
  • Duress – Arguing you were forced into the crime by threats.
  • Necessity – Saying you had no other way to obtain essentials like food or medicine.
  • Intoxication – Being high or drunk during the crime.
  • Mistaken identity – You got the wrong guy! Someone else did it.

These defenses don’t lead to acquittal very often. But lawyers use them to negotiate lighter sentences or get charges dropped to lesser offenses.

There are also some legal loopholes clever bank robbers exploit:

  • Robbing a credit union instead of an FDIC bank.
  • Just robbing the customers, not the bank itself.
  • Grabbing cash before it’s FDIC insured on bank premises.
  • Using intimidation but no weapons to avoid armed robbery charges.

But don’t get any funny ideas! These loopholes are hard to pull off and most robbers still end up doing hard time.

Preventing Bank Robberies

Banks take many precautions to prevent robberies and catch the crooks. Security measures include:

  • Cameras – Video surveillance to record crimes.
  • Bait money – Marked bills to trace stolen cash.
  • Time-lock safes – Vaults that open on time delays to foil robbers.
  • Silent alarms – Triggers police response without tipping off crooks.
  • Tracking devices – Hidden GPS trackers placed in loot bags.
  • Ink bombs – Exploding dye packs stain stolen money.

The FBI also maintains a database of known bank robbers and shares information with police to catch serial offenders.

Many banks now offer more online and mobile services to reduce the amount of cash stored in branches. Bank employees are also trained how to respond during robberies to avoid violence and minimize losses.

But determined robbers still attempt hits on banks every week! Law enforcement agencies continue working to protect businesses and the public from these threatening crimes.

The Bottom Line

Bank robbery is a risky crime that rarely pays off in the long run. Most crooks get caught and end up doing serious time in prison. It causes trauma, violence, and economic harm. While bank heists look exciting in movies, real-life bank robbery is extremely dangerous and unethical. Don’t do it!

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