Forbidden Friday: Greed

Mary
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It's well established on this blog that I'm fascinated by bank robberies. (Not that I'd ever steal anything except copyrighted images and the occasional MP3 myself, no sir.) Thus, for your second installment of Forbidden Friday, I present to you:

Great Bank Robberies

g7201.jpgThe Great Northfield, Minnesota, Raid: OK, in terms of actual success, this 1876 robbery was a bust. But it had a heck of a cast: legendary bandits Frank and Jesse James; Cole, Jim and Bob Younger; and three lesser-known outlaws. Their target was Northfield's First National Bank, which the gang settled on after casing a half-dozen other towns. Clearly, not enough casing, as the robbery couldn't have gone worse. The bank's cashier refused to open the safe, an alert passerby sounded the alarm, and townspeople killed two of the robbers as the rest escaped. A week later, a posse killed or captured all of the other outlaws except the James brothers, who escaped home to Missouri. It was the beginning of the end for 19th-century America's most notorious bandits. Worse still? The take from the Northfield bank was a mere $26.70.

Two more dastardly heist-meisters after the jump.

Thinking Inside the Box(es): In early 1976, the Lebanese capital of Beirut was in the throes of a civil war. (Editor's note: When has it not been in the throes of war?) Palestinian guerrilla groups had gained control of the city's aptly named Bank Street and set about knocking off a dozen banks. The biggest prize on the lot? The British Bank of the Middle East. To get the loot, a PLO-affiliated group blasted through the wall of a Catholic church next door to the bank. Then imported Corsican safecrackers were employed to open the vault to get to the safety-deposit boxes. Over a two-day period, the robbers loaded trucks with $20 million to $50 million in currency, gold, jewels, and stocks and bonds (not bad for a couple days' work). The bad guys got away, though all was not lost. Eventually, some of the stocks and bonds were sold back to their owners.

The Trench Coat Job: It was past quitting time when two men wearing buttoned-up trench coats let themselves into the Seafirst Bank in Lakewood, Washington, a suburb of Tacoma. Flashing a gun, the pair stuffed 355 pounds of cash -- $4.46 million "“ into sacks and made a clean getaway. Insane, right? The 1997 heist was actually the largest bank robbery in U.S. history, but this wasn't the work of amateurs. Nope. Ray Bowman and William Kirkpatrick were real pros. In fact, between 1982 and 1998, Bowman and Kirkpatrick were believed to have robbed 28 banks around the country for a total of more than $7 million. Even more impressive: only once was there gunfire, and no one was hurt. A special FBI task force was formed, but it was stupidity that finally tripped them up. Kirkpatrick was stopped for speeding in late 1998 by a Nebraska state trooper. A search of the car turned up four handguns, fake badges, two ski masks "“ and $1.8 million in cash. Meanwhile, Bowman had failed to pay the rent on a storage locker in Kansas City, Missouri. When the owner opened it, and found a virtual armory of guns, he called the cops, and they collared Bowman at his suburban Kansas City home a few weeks after Kirkpatrick's arrest. The dapper duo was convicted in 1999, with Bowman getting slapped with 24 years, Kirkpatrick with 15.

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July 28, 2006 - 5:15am
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