Money makes the world go round, and matters can get pretty desperate when you run out of it – as these cases prove. Some people turn that desperation into a risky bid for a quick buck, gambling on apparent “solutions” like reckless bank heists. But bank robberies aren’t as simple as some might assume, and pulling off the perfect heist requires solid planning and more than your average amount of brainpower.
The following bank robbers enjoyed varying degrees of success, but they all displayed a mind-boggling lack of intelligence – which ultimately resulted in failure. From fainting at the teller window to handing over two forms of identification before the hold-up, the actions of these 10 robbers were hilariously inept.
10. Albert Bailey
Albert Bailey, a 27-year-old bank robber, confounded police in March 2010 when he employed a one-of-a-kind bank robbing technique: he called ahead. Bailey phoned the People’s Bank in Fairfield, Connecticut and ordered an employee to prepare for his arrival. He instructed the teller to collect $100,000 for him, sans dye pack, and claimed there would be a “blood bath” if his demands were not met.
Bailey must have thought calling ahead would help events run more smoothly, but in reality he merely gave the bank enough time to tip off police. Bailey’s juvenile accomplice entered the bank before a complete lockdown was initiated and handed over a note demanding cash. He was let out of the bank with a measly $900, and both he and Bailey were arrested in the parking lot.
9. Anthony Prince and Luke Carroll
New Zealand-born Anthony Prince (pictured) and Australian Luke Carroll were both 19 when they decided to pull off a bank heist in March 2005. Their failed attempt would go on to earn them the nickname “Dumb and Dumber.” Both teenagers worked at a sports store in Vail, Colorado and were regular customers of the WestStar Bank they planned to hit. What’s more, when it came to the crunch, although they covered their faces, they forgot to take off their nametags and didn’t even bother to hide their foreign accents. And while they made it out with an unusually high quantity of cash ($132,000), the euphoria didn’t last long.
The pair left a lot of leads, including tipping a taxi driver $20,000, taking snaps of themselves with wads of money, and buying a Rolex in cash at a nearby store not long after the robbery. In the end, the two hapless criminals tried to flee to Mexico but were arrested at the airport.
8. Hannah Sabata
On November 28, 2012, 19-year-old Hannah Sabata from Nebraska allegedly stole a silver Pontiac, before driving the vehicle to the Cornerstone Bank in Waco and handing the teller a note. The note read: “You are being robbed! No alarms or locks or phones or ink bags! I have a loaded gun. You have two minutes.” It seems Sabata made off with over $6,000 in cash, ditched the car in Buckley Park in her hometown Stromsburg, and removed the license plates.
Not content to remain anonymous, Sabata posted a video on YouTube a few hours afterwards, boasting about the robbery and fanning herself with wads of cash, while still wearing the same clothes. She was quickly arrested.
7. Estefany Martinez and Ricky Gonzalez
On March 23, 2011, Ricky Gonzalez (pictured) and Arturo Solano entered Houston’s International Bank of Commerce waving plastic guns. Only two tellers were on duty at the time: Estefany Martinez (Gonzalez’s girlfriend and Solano’s sister) and Anna Rivera. Although surveillance suggested the two tellers were terrified, in reality they were in on the job. The group of four had planned the heist, and Gonzalez and Solano’s appearance just before closing time netted the team $62,000.
Gonzalez and Solano made their getaway, and the robbery seemed like it was in the bag – until Gonzales and Martinez took to their Facebook accounts and started showing off. Gonzalez’s posts included the line, “U HAVE TO PAST THE LINE SOMETIMES!! TO GET DIS MONEY!!” Authorities soon connected the dots, and all four accomplices were taken into custody.
6. Siegfried K
So far, all the robbers on this list succeeded (albeit not for very long) and left the banks they hit with wads of cash – unlike would-be robber “Siegfried K.” In May 2011, the 57-year-old German man had a gun and he had a target. He even took a female hostage in order to convince bank employees to give him €10,000 ($13,485).
You might say things were going to plan – except for one minor issue. The establishment Siegfried was trying to rob hadn’t been a bank for 17 years. In fact, it was a physiotherapy practice. So, he changed his approach and ordered a female passerby to draw €400 ($520) from a nearby ATM. The thief then made his getaway in a stolen car. The only problem was, he left his toy gun inside the vehicle when he abandoned it, and the item was coated in his fingerprints.
5. Robert Strank
This robbery is a real head-scratcher. According to police reports, in April 2012, 39-year-old Robert Strank entered the Huntington Bank in Beavercreek, Ohio and proceeded to pass out. After arriving, Strank reportedly asked staff to get him a medic, and so they called 911. Whether he had a legitimate medical condition, pre-crime jitters or just wanted to create a distraction remains unclear, but once the call had been made, it’s alleged he gave a teller a letter asking for money. When the medics arrived, they checked Strank and summarily turned him over to police.
Interestingly, a similar case took place in Chicago in 1980. Muhammad Daud entered Federal Savings & Loan and handed a note to the teller, but before the employee could get the cash together, Daud fainted.
4. Matthew Dale Hudleston
On October 22, 2010, 33-year-old Matthew Dale Hudleston robbed a bank in Foley, Alabama. At first, everything went smoothly. He handed the teller a note that read, “I have a gun. Do not alert anyone. No alarms, no dye packs, give me all the money in your drawer. You have 15 seconds, do not panic or alert anyone.”
Hudleston was soon on his way out with $9,945, but instead of making a clean getaway, he returned to the bank to collect his forgotten holdup note. This proved to be a costly mistake, however, as police were already at the scene investigating the crime. A car chase ensued, and Hudleston was arrested, still in possession of both the money and the ill-fated note.
3. Daniel Rahynes
No one is really sure what 35-year-old Daniel Rahynes was thinking when he walked into a Metro Bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in March 2011. Our best guess is that he wasn’t thinking at all. According to police reports, Rahynes handed over two forms of identification, explaining that he wanted to set up a new bank account. Soon after he was given an application form to complete, he made it clear that he was, in fact, robbing the bank, said police at the time.
It’s alleged that bank officials gave Rahynes a small quantity of cash and that he drove off, hitting another car during his getaway. However, because he’d given staff his actual identification and told them his real name, Rahynes was easily identifiable. In the end, he saved everyone the trouble of a prolonged manhunt when state troopers picked him up after he was involved in another hit-and-run. Naturally, they handed him over to city police.
2. Dennis Hawkins
In July 2010, 48-year-old Pittsburgh-area resident Dennis Hawkins apparently disguised himself with a blond wig, artificial breasts and clown pants to carry out his bizarre heist. According to reports, Hawkins shoplifted a BB gun from a Kmart in Swissvale, Pennsylvania and headed over to the local Citizens Bank. There, he sat around for a while, before demanding cash from a female member of staff at gunpoint.
Once he had the money, reports go on to say, Hawkins ran behind the bank building and took a peek at his haul – but as he opened the money envelope, a dye pack exploded, covering him in red ink. He then dashed to a nearby service station and unsuccessfully tried to catch a ride. Eventually, Hawkins reportedly got into a woman’s car, but she escaped with her car keys, went inside the service station and promptly called the police. Hawkins was arrested soon afterwards, still waiting patiently in the car and still wearing the artificial boobs.
1. Patrick Johnson
On July 21, 2008, 33-year-old Patrick Johnson entered a Bank of America branch in Ocala, Florida. He handed over a note explaining that he was equipped with a .45 caliber pistol and wanted money, according to various reports. Later in the afternoon, it appears Johnson robbed a second Bank of America branch. He changed outfits between heists, perhaps hoping it would make it more difficult for authorities to identify him – but he needn’t have bothered.
Incredibly, both of Johnson’s holdup notes were written on the back of his own personal checks. You’re not really leaving police with much to do when you hand over your full name, address and bank details. Predictably, Johnson only made it a short distance in a cab before police caught up with him and put him in jail.