Have you seen these suspects?
Updated August 1, 2014
Be on the lookout for the individuals pictured in our collection of bank robbery suspect photos from banks robbed in the last month.
Print out and post the pics, or circulate them to your frontline staff. See the latest additions to the ROGUE'S GALLERY OF UNKNOWN ROBBERY SUSPECTS.
Down on Their Luck
New game, old crime - A teenager turned to old-fashioned bank robbery when he needed the funds to purchase a new video gaming console. Tyler Matthew Schnapp, 17, entered the Wells Fargo Bank in Penrose, CO brandishing a BB gun and presented the cashier with a note saying he was robbing the bank. The teller complied with Schnapp's demands and gave him $1,300 in cash. A few hours later, traffic cops pulled Schnapp's car over and recognized him as the suspect being sought for the robbery. The young thief had just left Walmart where he purchased a new video game console. He confessed to the robbery, telling police he was "down on his luck as he recently lost his job" and that he didn't plan the heist ahead of time, but just decided it earlier that morning. Gaming consoles don't come cheap, but Schnapp should have waited until the price came down or his luck improved.
Appearances can be deceiving - When a hunched, elderly man walked into the PNC bank branch in Boynton Beach, FL with the assistance of a walker, he was greeted and escorted to the teller's window by a bank manager. But 77-year-old Russell Cooper appeared to be far from frail when he drew a knife on and took the manager hostage when the two argued over his lack of finances. When the manager told Cooper his account had been closed by the bank for "consistent lack of funds," he became highly agitated. Cooper demanded $130 from the teller and took the manager hostage, threatening to "slit his throat" if he didn't cooperate. Strangely though, surveillance video showed the manager smiling throughout the ordeal, and holding the door open for Cooper while he exited the bank with both hands on the walker. Outside the bank, the manager broke away when Cooper was distracted by arriving police. Originally charged with robbery and kidnapping, the Palm Beach County State Attorney's office reduced the charges against Cooper to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Notifications and Identifications
Notification updates... - Recent news events highlight the essential need for emergency notification updates. When was your last update from employees for notifications in the event of an emergency? It's a stark reality that bank robberies can go bad and employees may be injured, or worse. In your institution, who notifies the family, and where do they get the information on whom to contact? Furthermore, is there a plan in place to coordinate with law enforcement about notifying other businesses when there is a fugitive in the area, especially local schools that are trained to go on lockdown? If the answer is "we don't know," or some personnel files have dust accumulating on them, it's time to do some updating.
Armed and ready... - When the West Alabama Bank in Tuscaloosa, AL was robbed on May 28th, in a show of force the robber - armed with an assault rifle - jumped on the teller counter and stole cash from each teller drawer. Both employees and customers were in fear for their lives. A car and driver was waiting for the armed suspect as he exited the bank, and thankfully no one was injured in the incident. The bandit and his getaway accomplice are still being sought.
Lesson plans provided... - Who needs creativity when lesson plans are available online on how to rob a bank? A group of architectural students were asked to plan the perfect bank heist from an architectural point of view. Read about their ideas in this article, and then consider how you might plan a robbery of your bank. That should give you some idea where you're vulnerable and what holes you need to plug.
GPS locates robber... - The question arises frequently whether or not banks should use marked bills, record serial numbers, dye packs or GPS devices. Some banks go old school, some use more high tech methods. In Wichita, KS a man described as wearing a black baseball hat and dark hoodie gave a note to a teller at the Credit Union of America demanding money. The teller complied with his request and he fled. But just fifteen minutes later, police had located the thief using the GPS that he unknowingly took with the cash. We're glad to hear he is off the streets.
Meanwhile, a bank robbery in Greenville, VA doesn't have a successful outcome. Jonathan Holts, who was accused of robbing the Greenville BB&T, has been released. Read how circumstantial evidence was not enough to convict Holts of the robbery. Could reasonable steps have been taken to result in a better ID of the robber, or linking the cash that was taken in the robbery to the bank, or more effective use of bank surveillance cameras? Being able to provide undisputable evidence and bringing the robber (whoever it is) to justice should always be the primary goal following a robbery incident.
No Hoodies... - Having a "No Hats, No Hoodies" policy won't stop a bank robbery, but it will draw unwanted attention to those who violate the policy. Additionally the absence of hats and hoodies allows for more clear surveillance images of those being serviced in your bank. Camera angles tie into this as well. With what is usually a significant investment in cameras and recorders, it is important to use the technology to its maximum benefit. Review the bank images of the robbers in the two separate cases below and you will easily see which one stands a better chance at producing an identification of the suspect.
1) This Minneapolis bank robber is hard to see.
2) This Detroit man will be much easier to recognize. Camera angle, dress and lighting all played an effective role here.
Hot Topics From the Threads
In the publicly accessible threads, one banker is seeking out networking and training opportunities to maximize their budget, while another is looking for help creating a document destruction policy. Another thread is discussing on-site vs. off-site shredding of bank documents. You can weigh in or view the discussion here.
Check out other interesting discussions taking place in the Public Security area. When commenting on these discussions, keep in mind this is an unprotected public forum and comments should be limited to generic content.
We also have a "private" security forum for discussion of more private, sensitive topics. That is where security officers were discussing PATRIOT Act compliance, threats against employees, BSA software, more on document destruction, surveillance video and the police, branch opening procedures, gun dealers as customers, and more!
To comment in Bankers' Threads you must be a registered user. You can register here. If using your bank email account, you will be given access to the private forums. The Private area is a group of forums under the heading "Private - Financial Institution Personnel Only." The Private forums do not include access to Bankers Hotline or Compliance Action, premium content areas that require paid subscriptions to those respective publications.
If you are already registered for the Threads, but don't yet have access to the private forums, using your bank email address send a request for access to email@example.com. Please verify that you do not yet have Private access. Once your registration request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.
Bogus Checks Springing up
Flowers and grass aren't the only things popping up this spring. Check fraud CrimeDex alerts have also been on the rise. One of the first CrimeDex alerts for the month was a notice from ION Bank in Connecticut that phony official checks purportedly drawn on the bank were being used in Craigslists scams. A second counterfeit check alert involved bogus cashier's checks on the Visterra Credit Union, reportedly circulating in California in a Craigslist employment scam, and a Texas credit union reported its cashier's checks were also being counterfeited, in connection with work-from-home scams.
There were also other forms of check fraud reported. An Iowa bank reported it had a customer depositing checks drawn on a closed account. The US Postal Inspection Service, New Jersey AG's office and New Jersey State Police are looking for help identifying a suspect in a check fraud ring that's depositing counterfeit checks on Friday afternoons and making ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases at Walmarts in the NJ, DE, PA and MD region, with total losses so far at over half a million dollars.
Also in this month's Alerts was a request from the Arizona Attorney General's office for information connected with an elder financial exploitation case in which the victim had already been bilked of $50,000 and a request from the Santa Clara County (California) DA's office relating to an elder financial abuse case it's working on.
Each month's BOL CrimeDex alerts can provide your financial institution with fresh examples of crimes that can be used to bring reality to security training presentations.
CrimeDex is now FREE to registered members of the Bankers' Threads
Private Security Forum! Get the details and subscribe now!
Robbery Deterrent Signs
Asking customers to remove hats, hoods and sunglasses could help reduce the number of bandits who target your bank. If you don't have a sign asking customers to remove their hats and sunglasses, get one now from the Banker Store
Remind would-be criminals coming in to your institution that they're likely to have their image captured on your surveillance cameras -- and that crimes against your institution are investigable by the FBI. These "print-it-yourself" signs from BOL provide another tool for deterring robbers.
Bank Robbery, International Style
Bank robberies, regardless of where perpetrated, always rely on intimidation and threats. Guru Barry Thompson's article reveals some astounding differences between bank robbery methods and responses between the U.S. and Japan. Read Bank Robbery Response
Reward Program Pays Off
Since 1991, Wells Fargo's robbery reward program has resulted in the capture of 228 robbery suspects with an average cost of $3,294 per captured robber. What a bargain!
Reward Program Pays Off
Employee Conduct During and After a Robbery
Quick lists that make great hand-outs for your robbery training.
-- During a Robbery
-- Don't Be a Hero
-- After the Robbery - Do
-- After the Robbery - Don't
-- Dealing with the Media
-- Closed Sign
Detailed, comprehensive procedures from Guru Dana Turner
-- for Management
-- for Staff Personnel
Dealing with the Aftermath
After a robbery or other critical incident, affected employees may experience a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. These resources, from Lawrence Brock, can help the employees understand what they are experiencing, and can help employees not directly affected know what to say and how to listen.
-- Specific Ways to Cope with Stress
-- Tips for Listening
-- Signs of Grief/Loss
-- Avoiding Secondary Wounding
-- How to help
Robbery Prevention, Response & Aftermath
Robbery Prevention - NO HATS Signage
Bank Security Program Policy - approximately 15 page template covering topics ranging from Key and Combination Control to Cash Shipments and Requirements, Bank Robberies and more.
Security Program Manual
Complete, model security program from Dana Turner created in template form, with policies and procedures from both security and operations functions. Coverage includes all functions, department, facilities and record and asset control. Addresses routine operations techniques and the three types of internal and external crimes.
Effective Robbery Response & Opening Procedures (DVD)
From Bankers Video Library.
No one wants to think robbery can happen. But it can -- and does.
In the event of a robbery, getting the robber out the door, with no harm or injury to anyone in the office, should be everyone's aim and purpose.
This video, used along with the accompanying training workbook, (and documentation), can provide your institution with the robbery response training mandated by the Bank Protection Act.
Workplace Violence: It can happen to you - training video
From Bankers Video Library.
Surviving a violent event requires both individual and team efforts. Learning simple, effective survival techniques could save your life-and the lives of your co-workers and your customers. This tape, used along with the accompanying training workbook, (and documented), can provide your institution with the robbery response training required by the Bank Protection Act.
How Observant Are You?|
Test your observation skills (and your reflexes!) with these two original games from BankersOnline.com.
- Face Memory Challenge - Look at a face. Try to memorize each feature. Click a button. The face is gone and you must rebuild it, piece by piece. Test your skills in our Face Memory Challenge!
- Picture Memory - Get your clicking finger ready and snap into maximum concentration mode as you prepare to play Picture Memory. Warning! It's addictive!