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Have you seen these suspects?
Updated May 1, 2015  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.

Risky Security and Descriptive Duds
The Risk of Arming Guards - To present armed guards or not have armed guards – that's been a long-debated topic. Many in the banking industry, along with some state regulators, believe armed guards increase the risk of violence. The FBI agrees. An analysis of FBI bank crimes data by The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) found guards with guns pose a significant risk during a bank robbery, increasing threefold the likelihood of a violent event occurring during a bank robbery. The analysis conducted by CIR found that during a bank crime where armed guards were present, injury rates soared for everyone in the bank. In the cases where civilian security guards were onsite, sixty-four guards were hurt for every 1,000 incidents when armed, compared with less than one injury per 1,000 incidents when they were unarmed. Read more about the risk of arming guards at CIRonline.

Striped Hoodie Bandit - It was Mark Twain that said "clothes make the man." It was Brian Dennis Kuhles whose clothes helped "make" him in multiple bank heists. The serial thief dubbed the "Striped Hoodie Bandit" was apprehended by US marshals after his last heist in November at the SunTrust Bank in Huntersville, NC. Kuhles, 47, is suspected of involvement in at least three other robberies involving banks and convenience stores, during which he wore the same striped hoodie. The FBI has linked him to a total of ten area robberies. Kuhles has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon. He'll get another striped shirt where he's going.

How Secure is Your Security?

Senseless security mishap - In Fayetteville, GA while inspecting a security guard's weapon, the guard's supervisor accidentally shot herself in the leg. This may sound like an episode of the beloved Andy Griffith comedy show where Andy allowed Barney to carry one round only and it had to be in his pocket, but in reality this supervisor was taken to the hospital. The construction of many bank lobbies could cause a bullet to ricochet around the branch, seriously injuring bank staff or customers.

"Security" in disguise - We've often mentioned how traumatic takeover-style robberies can be, and a recent one at a Key Bank in Layton, UT was no exception. Two men wearing security uniforms entered the bank and pulled a takeover robbery. Their disguise gave them the element of surprise and a better position in the bank. One woman required medical attention for non-life threatening injuries. The bank cameras captured some helpful images but the thieves escaped. Police found the getaway car but are still searching for the security-clad robbers. This incident raises the question of requiring escorts for vendors who enter the bank, including security guards.

No Hats, No Hoodies - and No Scarfs - During the Halloween and Christmas holiday seasons, it's a good time to familiarize your customers with your "no hats, no hoodies" policy and make sure they understand costumes fall into the same category (some discretion may be needed for Santa). But how do you handle those who dress for frigid temperatures? In theory the bank lobby is warm and hats and scarves should come off. A look at this surveillance photo is a good example. The hat and scarf reveals only that the robber was Caucasian. With better camera quality and angle of view, facial views are possible even when the suspect is wearing a hoodie, as demonstrated in this video snippet.

Real-time monitoring - Your ATMs should be outfitted with alarms that notify you when they go offline, or even get tilted. A Bank of America ATM in Lake Wylie, SC set off some alarms when a would-be thief stole a backhoe and attempted to break into an ATM at 4:00 a.m. Security officers monitoring surveillance cameras called police when they saw the backhoe. The ATM was reportedly damaged, but not opened.

ATM safety - Some states require the disclosure of ATM safety tips initially and even periodically in some cases. Required or not, itís a good practice for any bank to have in place. Burlington, VT police reported that a customer at an ATM was robbed at knifepoint while making a withdrawal. David Morrison, arrested two days before for the same crime committed just a week before, was charged with assault and robbery and violation of conditions of release.

"An ounce of prevention" may be the mantra in reminding customers to use indoor ATMs over outdoor, to look for well-lit areas, to stay away from shrubbery and other obstacles and to be aware of their surroundings, and other safety tips. It behooves the bank to conduct periodic inspections of its ATMs for any possible security issues. If this is one of those tasks that have been put off, bear in mind that you have some liability for what happens at your ATMs.

Hot Topics From the Threads

The publicly accessible threads for Security have been very quiet for the last couple of months as the discussions have been more confidential and appropriately discussed in the Private forums. But one thread that caught our interest asked the question: Is there a law prohibiting photography in a bank? Consider the quality of cell phone cameras ten years ago compared to today. GoPro video cameras mounted on smartphones is becoming more commonly seen. This discussion is similar to one last month on Google Glass. Share your views on how you would (or maybe have) handle these scenarios and questions. This is a good use of the public threads as long as specifics are avoided. Read more and comment here. More of the discussions, for risk management and confidentiality reasons, have moved to the private area where we have a forum for bankers only on security topics, and another that allows law enforcement and regulators access.

We also have a "private" security forum for discussion of more private, sensitive topics. That is where security officers were discussing required upgrades of cellular backups, more on a legal claim against a bank after a lady of the evening stole a customer's checks and identity, 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 Please verify that you do not yet have Private access. Once your registration request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.

Counterfeit checks and cards and cash (oh, my!)
There were no fewer than 15 CrimeDex alerts in December that involved counterfeits -- counterfeit cashier's checks, business checks, travelers checks, credit cards, debit cards and, yes, currency. If your financial institution is looking for a way to alert other banks and businesses about counterfeit cashier's, official or business checks, a free BOL CrimeDex membership is a great way to "get the word out." December reporters included Coastal Federal Credit Union (NC - Counterfeit official checks); Discover Financial Services (counterfeit credit cards); Silver State Schools Credit Union (NV - counterfeit cashier's checks); Far East National Bank (CA - counterfeit business account checks); Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CA - counterfeit $50 bills); Target Stores (AR - counterfeit and altered traveler's checks); Waukesha Police (WI - counterfeit check ring); Walmart Global Investigations (multi-state counterfeit credit card fraud); Navigant Credit Union (RI - follow up on earlier counterfeit cashier's check) and several others.

Our "Lowlife of the Month" award goes to a suspect being sought by a Florida police department for stealing the checkbooks of an elderly couple (91 and 88 years old) in her care, and cleaning out their accounts to the tune of $80,000.

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.

Banker Tools:
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

Robbery Procedures
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-Related Products
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
  • 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!

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