A Look at Bank Robbery in the U.S.

by tylercook on October 18, 2013

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Walking into a bank and demanding a teller to turn over money doesn’t seem like the brightest idea in the world. Nonetheless, bank robberies continue to be prevalent in American society. According to the FBI, in 2011, more than 5,000 robberies of financial institutions were reported. This amounts to nearly 14 bank robberies per day. In these robberies, over 100 people were killed and over $30 million was stolen.

Bank Robberies of Yore

Some of the most infamous and alluring criminals in history were bank robbers, including Jesse James (a bank robber and train robber who terrorized the Missouri area in the 1800s); Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (lovers who headlined the American press during the 1930s with their unyielding romance and daring bank robberies); and John Dillinger (a notorious 1920s and 1930s bank robber nicknamed the “Jackrabbit” for his ability to flee police).

After John Dillinger, the FBI took a primary role in bank robber investigations; in 1934, robbing any National bank or state bank under the Federal Reserve became a federal crime.

How Bank Robberies Are Conducted

Modern technology hasn’t had a great deal of influence on bank robberies; they are often still conducted in the simple manner they were in the past, albeit often with less firearms.

In 2010, there were 5,500 bank robberies in America; of these, 1,445 involved guns. Much more commonly, bank robbers simply use a demand note or threaten the use of a weapon, even if they don’t actually have one.

Bank robberies aren’t generally all that profitable: in 2010, they netted $7,500 on average. They are also usually more dangerous to the perpetrator than innocent bystanders. Of the 16 people killed during bank robberies in 2010, 13 were the actual robbers.

Bank Robberies in Recent News

Bank robberies only make national news under exceptional circumstances. Some of the most infamous recent cases involve Stephen Trantel and the Loan Ranger Bandit.

Stephen Trantel lost his job as a trader in 2003 and grew desperate. Each morning, he put on a suit and told his wife he was going to “work.” Rather than hitting Wall Street, he hit up banks. He set a plan in motion that included choosing one bank at a time, choosing banks with no security guard, and avoiding mid-week heists (because most cops cashed their checks on Wednesdays). He also mapped out his escape route beforehand and parked a few streets away. He wore a disguise with a fake moustache, a baseball cap, sunglasses, and extra-large clothes worn over his suit.

When he arrived at the bank, he selected who he believed to be the “weakest teller” and presented them with a note that read, “Hey, I have a gun. No funny games. No alarm.” After procuring the money, he’d go to his truck, dump his outer clothing, and drive away. This plan was successful enough to allow him to rob ten banks (and steal $60,000) before he was nabbed. Dubbed “The Long Island Bank Robber,” he was eventually caught by a fingerprint on one of his demand notes.

The Loan Ranger Bandit is an unknown man who has committed at least a dozen robberies of banks and other financial institutions in four different states since 2009. He has been deemed “brazen” because never attempts to hide his face. However, his robberies are planned: he often hits standalone institutions that have easy access to major roadways. Though he began robbing banks by presenting a demand note and showing a weapon in his waistband, he now fully brandishes his weapon.


Tucker Dyson writes on a variety of legal topics such as bail bonds, criminal defense, personal injury, evidence law, legal history, constitutional law and others as well; for more info on bail bonds in Pearland, TX visit an established outfit which deals in this area.




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