Bank Robber Uses Craigslist To Hire Unsuspecting Accomplices

A man robbed an armored car outside a Monroe, Washington bank and used a dozen unwitting accomplices to act as decoys during his getaway. He hired the accomplices on Craigslist and instructed them to wear very specific clothing. From King5.com:
"I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour," said Mike, who saw a Craigslist ad last week looking for workers for a road maintenance project in Monroe.

He said he inquired and was e-mailed back with instructions to meet near the Bank of America in Monroe at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He also was told to wear certain work clothing.

"Yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask… and, if possible, a blue shirt," he said.

Mike showed up along with about a dozen other men dressed like him, but there was no contractor and no road work to be done. He thought they had been stood up until he heard about the bank robbery and the suspect who wore the same attire.
Armored truck robber uses Craigslist to make getaway (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)

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  1. Why did I just laugh out loud, clap my hands with a huge smile and tell my wife who’s sitting next to me “it’s genius, pure genius”…?

  2. Ahhhh….Amorica. Where bank tellers are still not behind bullet proof glass. Bank robberies still happen here on a frequent basis, because the banks are not willing to pay for proper security. You know why banks get robbed still? Because its still easy. 100 plus years of bank robberies, and its still a piece of cake.

    Fail. Epic.

  3. and the guy made his get-away by floating down a river on an inner tube. now if that ain’t just completely awesome-centric, I don’t know what is.

    an inner tube!

  4. Very much a life imitating art event. A Whitest Kids U’Know sketch is based on this exact premise.

  5. Frightening,

    Sure tell me where to be what to do and I will obey.

    What’s the cue in her the mob ‘thingies’ where everyone shows up at once at a given time.

    Laughs all around – but with alternative worth.

    genius I say not, more so social opportunist.

    then again – why do hotos of big foot always exit stage left?

  6. another good one is to go door to door in your victim rural neighbourhood and ask people to participate in an emergency number 911 test by calling at a certain date and time. Plugs up the system so the bank can’t get through.

  7. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the first thing I thought of when I read this was “The Red-Headed league”.

    On the bullet-proof glass thing: Some US bank branches have them, some don’t; around here it seems largely based on neighborhood. Given that doing transactions through glass can be off-putting, I suspect banks calculate a tradeoff between providing a more customer-attractive environment and risking getting their teller cash drawers cleaned out now and then.

  8. Also about the bullet-proof glass thing: An armed robber doesn’t have to threaten to shoot the teller, he or she can just as easily threaten to shoot the nearest human being not behind bullet-proof glass. Pretty much any reasonable person would hand over whatever money was demanded rather than risk having a bystander killed.

    The reason bank robberies are “allowed” to happen is the same reason convenience stores are “allowed” to be robbed: because trying to resist them will very possibly result in people getting hurt or killed. Which is far worse than losing a bit of cash.

  9. The WaMu I go to in Hollywood has metal detectors between double bullet-proof glass doors as you enter the bank. Once you’re in, you have good old-fashioned contact with the tellers.

  10. Sorta Kinda the premise to the “Thomas Crown Affair” at least the Steve McQueen version.

    None of his robbers knew each other or him… This took it one better ;)

  11. Heh, seems this is a popular tactic in movies. Inside Man immediately came to my mind, though now I see many other obvious references mentioned here too.

  12. The reason bank robberies are “allowed” to happen is the same reason convenience stores are “allowed” to be robbed: because trying to resist them will very possibly result in people getting hurt or killed.

    No, it’s because the security measures necessary to prevent them are more expensive than the annual loss due to robberies (and to hell with the risk to staff and patrons from the robberies). It’s easy to design banks that cannot be robbed by a random idiot with a pistol (many major branches of European banks do it, especially in Switzerland) but it’s cheaper to let them get robbed.

    The “secure” banks can still be robbed, naturally, but it takes preparation and skill. You can rob a small US bank by waving a pistol at a teller; if you try that in the more secure banks then the teller will just tell you that they’ve only got change in their desk, and any significant amounts of money have to be brought up from the vault, which the security guards watching the cameras have just put on a 24-hour lockdown. Unless you have a way to break into the vault or suborn the security staff, there’s really no way to rob them, and no point in threatening anybody.

    You don’t make banks secure by defending the tellers or by fighting the robbers. You do it by taking away the thing they’re trying to steal.

  13. it’s my understanding that one doesn’t get enough money to make it really worthwhile to rob a bank (less than ten thou, maybe) – anyone know?

  14. I have to hand it to this guy for his sheer creativity. Between using craigslist to recruit decoys, the method of escape and the lack of gun waving theatrics, this is pretty damn original. If the rest of this guy’s story is as good as this robbery, he should let himself get caught and sell the movie rights.

  15. If he didn’t have the good sense to hide his traces when posting the request on CL, he’s gonna be screwed though.

  16. Genius? No way. He created a trail by posting the ad and emailing the people who responded. All he did was create a group of people to testify against him.

  17. All this talk about bullet proof glass, and designing banks to make it harder to be robbed is good, but didn’t you read how this guy robbed the armoured truck? He sprayed a guard with pepper spray, and then ran off with a bag of money the guard was carrying. No threatening to kill anyone. No attempt to clean out the whole bank or the truck. He didn’t have a gun. The whole thing probably happened in less than 10 seconds. This is more akin to a snatch-theft than a robbery.

  18. So the next question is whether he was smart enough to use TOR or some other anonymizer. I’m going to laugh really hard if the data from Craiglist’s leads straight to the guy.

  19. Several years ago I was on a grand jury. We had several bank robbery case. The average take was < $1500. Robbing banks is NOT a way to get rich quick. Most of the robbers left blanant clues to their identity. Bank Robbing, at least through the front door with a note, is not the thinking man's crime. Although this guy seemed creative.

  20. Presumably he hopped on someone’s home wifi to do the online parts. A clever thief would set up the guy in that house to take the fall, possibly by planting evidence there beforehand.

    If he had any creativity he’d set up some innocent banker who’d have to spend years in prison before finally escaping to Mexico.

  21. The specificity of the clothing should have been the tip-off. Why would someone need a blue shirt?

    Pretty brilliant plan, though I hope they get the guy.

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