No Bonnie & Clyde
When I finally heard this story in its entirety today I laughed so hard the tears were flowing. I'm going to nominate this couple for induction into the Stupid Criminals Hall of Fame.
I'm going to recount the events of this "drama" as I heard the series of reports on the radio and television this afternoon.
A man and a woman wearing hooded masks walked into a bank in a Boston suburb and demanded that the teller fill a duffel bag with money. The man waved a gun and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to stop them. The couple then calmly walked out the front door. They hopped into a car parked in front of the bank and drove away.
I was surprised by the next news report. The police had arrested the man and woman within fifteen minutes at a residence five blocks from the bank. It turns out that one of the customers who had been in the bank at the time of the robbery had written down the license plate number of their getaway car.
I thought to myself, "What a stupid idiot to run straight to a house which was in the same neighborhood as a bank he had just knocked off!"
Then I heard another report that had me scratching my head. The car was not registered to the man or the woman and not for the address where they'd been arrested. The car was registered to the woman's husband at an address in Salem, New Hampshire. Then I was thinking, "How in the hell did they track them down so fast?"
I had been on the road listening to these reports on the radio in my truck. When I got home I immediately switched on the television and put on the local 24-hour news channel. I suppose I could have ignored the story once they had been arrested, but I was intrigued by the unusual way the story was breaking.
Ah, a TV reporter was interviewing a bank employee in front of the bank. The story went from interesting to bizarre as the woman, a teller, said that the couple entered the foyer of the bank and went up to an ATM machine. There was nothing unusual about the couple she said. She was on her lunch break and as it was a nice day in the low 60s, she was sitting on wall across from the bank entrance eating a tuna salad sandwich.
The couple then came out of the bank and stood by the door for several minutes. They appeared to be arguing. She said that the man then opened the trunk of the car and pulled out a duffel bag. He took something out the bag and handed one to the woman and then they went back into the bank. The next thing she knew they emerged wearing the masks. She knew something was wrong as she watched them drive away.
The TV picture then shifted back to the anchor desk in the studio. The anchor man said that they would keep following the breaking story and would have more as the reports came in. That gave me the opportunity to make a sandwich and grab something to drink.
The next report finally cleared up the mystery as how they had been captured so soon after the robbery. The man had attempted to withdraw cash from the ATM machine, but there were insufficient funds in the account. These machines record electronically any activity to the banks accounts, even when the transactions are not completed.
Not only was a bank officer able to easily obtain the name and address of the person to whom the account was assigned, but he also had access to the video camera's images of the two people who had been standing by the ATM machine. The information was ready for law enforcement officials when they arrived on the scene.
It was at that point that the humor of the stupidity of these two Bonnie & Clyde wannabes began to hit me. (Why would you attempt to rob a bank at which you have an account?) Then there was that question again that begged to be answered: "Why in the hell did he run to his own house five blocks away?" (Ahem, and then there's the rest of the story, why did he put another man's wife in such a predicament?)
Finally there was a report of the actual arrest itself, as witnessed by a neighbor. It seems that the police pulled up and knocked on the door. The man came to the door. The front of his shirt and his neck were covered with red dye. The explosive dye packet had worked its magic. The woman then appeared and she too had red dye on her clothing and on the side of her face. (I could ask here, why did they so nonchalantly answer he door?)
Inside the apartment the police found all of the dye stained money in a sink filled with water. On the counter was a bottle of bleach and a scrub brush. They must have thought they could clean up the bills. On the kitchen table they found the gun that had apparently been used in the holdup. It was a realistic looking squirt gun.
About an hour later some more information was released. It is at this point that bizarre and humorous become intertwined. Apparently the New Hampshire woman had met this dashing and debonair man in a chat room on the Internet. So she drove down from N.H. to meet the guy. During her stay at his place she had parked her car next to a fire hydrant. She became nervous and desperate when she discovered a $100 ticket under her windshield wiper.
How was she going to explain a parking ticket in the city of Boston to her to husband and what she was doing there in the first place? She had no cash and didn't want to write a check on the joint checking account she shared with her husband. Her dashing hero must have volunteered to withdraw some money to help her. Then when he didn't have the money in his account, he hatched the idea for the heist. (Ah, but what a man won't do to appease a woman.)
There was one more bizarre twist to the story. While the robbery was taking place, a loan officer was in a back office working on a report. She was unaware of the events as they were unfolding. She was also worried about her husband. She had called him at work only to discover that he hadn't showed up for work that morning.
She would later get a phone call from him. He had been arrested and needed her to come down to the precinct to pay for his bail. It was only when she emerged from the back office did she learn of the robbery. It didn't take long for her to learn the details of what had happened, especially when she was shown the video image of the woman and her missing husband.
Oh yeah, her husband's occupation? He was a police officer.
Would if be safe to say that he must have known that his wife worked at that particular branch?
Does anyone wish to second my nomination of these two into the Stupid Criminals Hall of Fame?