Most of the crazy bank robberies in movies are dramatic and dangerous, with guns and threats of violence. In real life, they're not always so violent, but they do sometimes rival the kind of genius robberies that the Ocean's 11 crew pulls off.
One group of bank robbers spent the entire weekend casually robbing a bank vault, drinking wine and partying as they stole millions. Another robber didn't even start his crime spree until he was 87 years old. These are some of the most interesting stories about non-violent bank robbers. Some of them got away with it, some of them got caught, but all of them tried to answer the question that most of us ask ourselves from time to time: "Could I get away with it?"
An Employee Of Dunbar Armored Co. Used Inside Knowledge To Mastermind A Robbery
In 1997, Allen Pace was fired from Dunbar Armored, Inc. - an armored car courier service often used by banks - for tampering with a company vehicle. The next day, the depot was robbed.
A group of men in ski masks entered the building using a key that Pace had kept after he was fired. Pace drew them a floor plan and provided them with radio headsets. He knew that employees often left the vault open during their breaks, making it an easy target for robbery. The robbers grabbed bags of cash and took the video tapes out of the surveillance cameras, then fled in a rented truck.
A piece of the the truck's tail light broke off as they drove away, and police were able to track it to the rental company and the thief who made the reservation. The other men were arrested soon after, including Pace.
Red Rountree Robbed His First Bank At Age 87
J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree robbed his first bank when he was 87 years old. After the loss of his beloved wife, he was left alone and aimless. Their son had died years earlier in a car accident. Rountree had a grudge against banks after a loan nearly drove him to bankruptcy in his business-owner days, so he decided he would rob one. He had nothing to lose.
He walked into a bank, asked the teller for money, and was caught on his way back to the car. He got three years probation. Less than a year later, he robbed another bank. He was arrested immediately and sentenced to three years in prison.
After he got out, he tried to live the straight and narrow life for a while. However, he couldn't resist robbing another bank at the age of 91, and he was arrested for a third time. He died in prison in 2004.
A Detective Robbed Banks On His Lunch Break, Then Returned To Investigate
Andre Stander finished school at the top of his class and became head of the Criminal Investigation Department in Kempton, South Africa when he was 31 years old. In 1977, he decided to use his insider knowledge to become a bank robber.
He would put on a disguise and rob a bank during his lunch break, then return later in the afternoon to lead the investigation. He robbed 30 banks before he drunkenly tried to recruit an accomplice, who turned him in to the police.
While in prison, he met two other bank robbers. They made an escape and robbed twenty banks over the course of two months. During one robbery, the security guard actually held the door for them, not realizing they had just robbed the bank.
They lived a life of luxury - spending time in the US and around the world - until police caught up to them in 1984. Stander was killed during a confrontation with a police officer.
Robbers Dug A Tunnel Into The Bank And Stole $65 Million
In 2005, a group of thieves rented a house in Brazil and pretended to be employees of an artificial turf company. They dug a 656 foot tunnel from the house to the nearby Banco Central. The theft happened over the weekend and wasn't discovered until Monday morning. Neighbors of the rented house reported seeing the "workers" taking away vans full of material each day.
The men stole as much as 150 million reals, making it the largest bank robbery in Brazil's history.