Top 10 Botched Bank Robberies


Bank robbery is still alive and well in these times of high tech crimes. Some go off without a hitch and some go off like the Titanic. Here’s a list of some of the less successful ventures. Keep your hands where we can see them and read on…

10. Maybe a Return Trip to the First Grade?


When the bank robber attacking a HSBC bank in Brooklyn passed his robbery note to the teller, he soon got suspicious as to why she was taking so long to get his money. But in truth she wasn’t stalling, she simply couldn’t read his handwriting. When she helplessly told him that she didn’t know what he wanted, he ran out of the front door with out a penny. Hopefully he was running back home to practice his cursive writing.

9. Man vs. Door: Door Wins!


This comedy of errors took place at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Rothesay in 1975. A criminal trio heads in to do the deed—and they get caught in the revolving door! After being helped out by staff they leave. But being the go-getters that they were, they promptly came back in to rob the bank. But no one would believe them. When the leader of the trio jumped over the counter to get the money he broke his ankle. At this point his pals try to make a run for it and they get caught in the door—again! Crime Fighting Door: 2. Bumbling Bad Guys: 0.

8. So, I Need a Favor…


When Charles Robertson robbed a Virginia Beach bank not only did he leave his handwritten robbery note with the teller; when he went back to get it, he left the keys to his getaway car. Deciding not to risk capture Robertson headed back home. Here’s the kicker: the car belonged to his roommate, whom he told the car was stolen. When she reported the car to police, they matched the keys with the car and soon drove over to pick up Robertson. Wonder what the insurance company made of that report!

7. The Empty Pockets Bandit

Able Fernandez earned this silly moniker when he tried to rob a couple of Santa Ana, banks and walk away empty handed. But the laid off mortgage adjuster stuck to it and successfully robbed two bank in one day in December 2008! Fifth time was not the charm, however. While Fernandez was sitting in the car outside his next target, the passerby police noticed his fake gun and arrested him. He should have settled for his pockets being half empty.

6. Not so Clean Getaway

Mental note: maybe bikes would be better for bank robbery getaways than cars. Bank robbers in Hampton UK started off alright. They got the money, they got out, and they didn’t kill any one. They were doing fine until they crashed right into a police car. When the patrolman came to their window speeding was only the least of their problems!

5. BYO Car

Robert Michael Varela pulled of his heist in Whitter, CA and ran straight into the open door of his waiting cab. Unfortunately the dye pack the teller slipped in exploded. He ditched everything (including his now red-dyed jacket) and tried to hop a public bus. The bus, however was on a lay over and 20 minutes later the police picked him up. Next time he’ll know to bring his own wheels.

4. Forget Something, Genius?


Never underestimate the power of a question. A bank teller in New Hudson, Michigan foiled her bank robber simply by asking him if he had a bag in which she could put the money. Apparently he didn’t because he then ran off with out a second thought. Oakland County Sheriff Tom Bisio said “she must have flustered” her would be robber. Maybe wanted go get some environmentally friendly canvas bags to carry his green.

3. A Real Pain in the Neck

Bank Robbery Explosion

It was like something out of a Saw movie. Brian Wells robbed a bank. But when the police caught up with him he says that he was forced to commit the crime. Then a small bomb goes off around his neck, killing him. After many twists and turn is comes out that Wells was one of a group of conspirators headed by Kenneth Barnes. He wanted the cash to have his girlfriend’s father murdered. Apparently, it wasn’t until the last minute that Barnes told Wells the bomb was real. Eventually all the conspirators were caught but now the police had to deal with a new kind of crime: Robbery by proxy.

2. Super Senior Stopping Power


When Daniel Ginly went into the US Bank in Dayton, Ohio he kept an eye out for anyone who might give him trouble, particularly guards and cops. Unfortunately he didn’t pay much attention to 70 year old James Matteson. After stealing the money from the teller he ordered the “old man” out of his way. What he didn’t know was that Matteson was a Korean War vet. The geriatric crime fighter slammed Ginly against the wall and held him down long enough for the police to arrive (even after Ginly slashed him with a knife). Where-to next for our hero? He went off to a reunion for Polish veterans. Guess who had a new war story to share?

1. Terror in Tinseltown


February 1997 Los Angeles citizens stayed glued to their TV as Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu robbed the Bank of America on Laurel Canyon. Afterward, they brazenly fought the LAPD in an intense gun battle right in the streets of Hollywood. The duo was outfitted with body armor that stopped police pistol rounds and automatic rifles that had the cops ducking for cover. In 44 minutes both robbers were dead (ten police officers and seven civilians were also injured). The shootout, which was broadcast all over the world let everyone know one more time why LA is sometimes called “The Bank Robbery Capital of the World.”

Written by Elizabeth Frazier

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1 Comment

  1. #3 he was found completely innocent, after he blew up, just a person caught in the scheme…
    He knew it was a real bomb he was telling police for 2 hours to get the collar off, no one helped thus BOOM