I have the occasional nightmare about being chased by police, but otherwise, I don’t believe I have anything that qualifies as a criminal tendency. So when I’m reading crime stories — I don’t mean the old-timey Dashiell Hammett novels and the Dick Tracycomic strip; I mean the real ones, at TheLocalNe.ws — I sometimes have a hard time understanding what I’m reading, or even believing what I’m seeing.
For example: Not long ago, a story out of Gloucester puzzled me. “A man accused of holding up a bank Monday morning was later found on a bus in Lynn,” it began. “The suspect had apparently ridden it there while trying to escape from Gloucester.” All of this attributed to the Gloucester Times.
So the robbery allegedly happened around 9 a.m. A man in his 30s “passed a note to a teller stating he had a weapon.” Police reportedly “dispatched multiple cruisers and investigators to the scene and to the area surrounding the bank.” There was surveillance video. There were witnesses. The suspect, as it turns out, was already “known to police.” His name and description were broadcast to law enforcement agencies in the area, and to state police.
At about this point, as I’m reading through the story, I’m thinking, If I’m doing this bank robbery, I’ve only got a couple of choices. I’m either planning to lie low — I’ve got a busty blonde girlfriend waiting for me in a garage somewhere in Dogtown, with a grease-soaked bag of gyros and a case of beer — or I’ve arranged a way to skedaddle out of town in a huge hurry: Assuming I haven’t stolen enough money to cover the cost of leasing a helicopter, I might still have a rented James Bond-type speedboat waiting in one of Gloucester’s 14,786 harbors — or maybe I’ve got a lead-footed henchman in a fast car ready to get me west fast. Lunch in Worcester. Yeah, baby. Count the money over a pastrami reuben at Deadhorse. Then head for the hills. Maybe even Schenectady.
But this was apparently not said perpetrator’s plan. The suspect “was located on a bus in Lynn.”
Not running from the bus.
Not shooting his way out of the bus.
Not clinging to the underside of the bus, like Keanu Reeves in that Speedmovie back in the 90s.
Just sitting on the bus.
Probably paid for his ticket with stolen money.
Do your banking in Gloucester, and look where your money goes.
I don’t know what to make of this story. It’s probably too late to help the bus-riding bank robber of Gloucester, but I do feel I might be able to offer some small measure of wisdom to other bank robbers, here in the Cape Ann area, and possibly even beyond:
- First of all, if you need this kind of advice, bank robbing may not be the career for you. Go back to school. In Massachusetts, community college is cheap. Get a normal career. Carpenter. Barista. Think outside the banks. You’ll be happier.
- If you decide to forge ahead with your dream of robbing banks, delete your digital copy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s not a good guide. If you back off your drinking enough to stay awake till the end, you’ll see that Paul Newman and Robert Redford actually end the movie somewhat badly. You don’t want to go there.
- Bank robbery is a speed-based enterprise. The bus is not about speed. You need a more nimble alternative. Think Uber. Think your sister-in-law’s pickup truck. Compared to the bus, you might more surely escape the scene of the crime hiding in the cab of a Marini tractor. Forget the bus system. It’s good for a lot of things, but not for bank robbery getaways. (Please tell me you didn’t pay your fare and then say to the bus driver, “Step on it!” That would be embarrassing.)
One final note: If they give you Internet access in jail, feel free to email me. We can talk. I’m concerned about how you’ll fare in prison, dude. I mean, come on. You robbed a bank, and then took the bus. Huh?
Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, where the bus never goes. Follow him by clicking “Follow.”