Though few of us have been robbed, we can assume that your perception of robberies involves ski masks, guns, and a whole lot of danger. However, some people commit their robberies with whatever they have handy. The strangest of them all would get rejected if written into a movie script for being too unrealistic. Such as …
10. A Spoon
On a January evening, in the sleepy town of Charlestown, Michael Wallace developed a sudden craving for doughnuts and sauntered off towards the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to get some. However, he intended to do so without paying. Alas for poor Michael, he did not remember that a doughnut store is usually a tourist attraction for policemen. Officer Matthew Donovan was pounding his beat, and working hard had made him hungry so he decided he should have a doughnut and coffee from the store. Walking in, he discovered Michael threatening the cashier with a metal object he claimed was a knife. Donovan quickly subdued him and asked him to drop the knife, upon which the failed felon produced the spoon he had been using. Spoon or no spoon, he was nevertheless charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and armed robbery.
9. A PS3 Controller
While moral guardians’ arguments that video games are dangerous and drive our youth to commit violent crimes are mostly dismissed, there appears to be an element of truth to this. In Florida, after performing a feat of robbing a Subway sandwich store, Cameron Pittman moved on to a neighborhood grocery store and attempted to rob them as well. Foolishly hanging around the scene of his crime to commit yet another crime was his undoing, as the police had been alerted and burst into the store to arrest the criminal, only to discover he was actually wielding a PlayStation controller, which he promptly surrendered upon being stopped. He was charged with robbery and violation of his parole, which makes him even smarter.
8. A Water Pistol
Most people take parenting as a sort of societal cue to settle down and take care of their kids. Others see it as a period of time to continue past shenanigans, and commit robberies as an alternative to going back to work. Michelle White falls firmly into the latter group; the mother of three took a ketchup-red water gun, walked into a White Castle restaurant, and threatened the cashier with death. She extracted $600 from the frightened worker, who might have been concerned about the mental stability of someone who would seriously use a water gun to carry out a robbery.
She was caught by the police as her licence plates were traced. In a mad bid to escape she jumped off the roof of her car, and broke several bones in her body; she was later determined to be on drugs. She felt the full weight of the law after that, thanks to her already-extensive criminal record, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
7. Toy Gun
Matthew Nutley was a crazy gunman who took over a Barclays Bank in Surrey. The man — who was in his mid thirties and unemployed — shut down the bank for a few hours, demanding £800,000 to free his hostages. He claimed to have dynamite, which prevented armed police from storming the place and cutting him down with a wall of bullets. In addition to this, he copped the movie Insider Man, by dressing several hostages in white boiler suits to confound the police officers and prevent them from finding out his identity.
Unfortunately, all good things (and poorly-planned robberies) must come to an end. Matthew was arrested for blackmail, a bomb hoax, and several other crimes.
6. Toilet Plunger
New York citizen Lawrence Deptola took to the banks of his state with the most terrifying weapon known to man: a toilet plunger. Walking into one bank, then another, and then another, Lawrence waved his death stick at the cashiers and comically ordered them to put the money in the bag. After being politely ignored time and again, Lawrence walked away, before being confronted by police officers who had been summoned by the banks. Charged with third-degree attempted robbery, he probably became a riot in prison.
5. Bug Spray
An anonymous robber walked into a bar without a priest and rabbi, and still managed to create humor. Making for the bartender, he pulled out a can of bug spray and demanded money, possibly mistaking the bartender for a rather large insect. Unimpressed, the bartender reached for the can in an attempt to swat it away, only to be repelled by a quick shot into his eyes. Grinning madly (we imagine,) the robber grabbed the money and ran away. He was later arrested and thrown into prison for … actually no, he got away with it! Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Here we have a robber who actually dressed like one – mask, gun, and all. That should be enough to terrify most any teller. But at some point, this guy thought, “I got me a semi-automatic; you know else I need? A pesticide sprayer!” It’s not exactly intuitive as a weapon choice, but combined with a bright yellow raincoat and dust mask, we can only imagine our robber was heading for supervillain tryouts. Proving that crime occasionally rewards originality, he escaped with the money and is still at large. Well, even two stopped clocks are right four times a day.
3. A Banana
Robert Downey of East London had gone to a fruit shop and picked up a banana. Deciding to put his fruit to good use (and apparently not being hungry,) he walked into William Claridges in Tower Hamlets and requested money from them. Unfortunately, he had chosen to disguise his “weapon” in a plastic bag, which hid neither shape nor color. His victims simply ignored him, after noting that their assailant was harmless. Upon realizing that, Robert tried to escape from the store after pulling out an equally pathetic pair of scissors, but was arrested by the police. Fortunately for him, the banana saved him from a life term, and instead sent him for a seven-year spin.
2. A Bouquet Of Flowers
Who says robbers don’t have class? A New York man walked into a bank with a bouquet of flowers — freshly bought, mind you — and handed them to the teller. The note expressed his concern for her life and warned her to take it easy in a few concise words: “Don’t be a hero.” Of course, such advice doesn’t come cheap, as the note also demanded all their money, in $50 and $100 bills. This particular robber was no stranger to pretty weaponry; he had previously visited another bank to give them a potted plant, which he also charged exorbitant fees for.
Currently at large (though probably not for long, given the lack of mask and all,) we suspect this man may be a fan of Batman’s foe, Poison Ivy.
1. Spaghetti Sauce
Ophelia Neal walked inside a bank and demanded money, claiming to have a bomb. Frightened, the cashiers simply handed money over to, and she drove off. A bomb squad was dispatched to investigate the package she had claimed was a bomb, only to discover tins of spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately for her, making a bomb threat without actually having a bomb is still making a bomb threat. She was arrested on charges of armed robbery and explosives, in addition to her previous criminal charges of assault and marijuana possession.