Today I learned how to rob a bank and get away with it. For me, that’s pretty much a major life goal accomplished. Since the tender age of 8 when I discovered ‘They Stole a Million’ – a heist sim on the C64 - I’ve always imagined that someday I might come up with the perfect crime. Now, thanks to retired bank robber and ex-con, Clay Tumey, I don’t have to. He’s laid his master plan for bank pilfery out for all to see in an engrossing Reddit AMA. The ‘ask me anything’ question and answer session gives any wannabe thieves all they need to know to start robbing banks straight away.
To save you wading through the hundreds of comments, here are the blueprints to a perfect crime, according to Clay:
“No gun. No threats. No Hollywood drama. No mask. No disguise. Nothing.
Just a [be a] regular customer. In and out in the same amount of time as if I was making a deposit.”
1: Stand in line like a regular customer
2: Wait for the next available teller
3: Hand them an envelope and tell them to give me their $50s and $100s (usually this was written on the envelope rather than me verbally saying it)
4: Turning around and walking out like a regular customer
So that’s it. No glamour, no team of criminal masterminds. Just stroll into a bank and ask for the right notes – it turns out $20 bills in the US are where banks hid the ‘bait’ – ink packs to catch robbers like Tumey. He estimates he walked away with about $5k from each hit but didn’t reveal how many jobs he’d done.
“I eventually stopped counting. I originally fessed up to one bank, but they didn't believe me, so I gave them two more. I did time for those three.”
So although Tumey never got caught he has served time for a small number of the robberies he committed.
“I always figured prison was in the cards for me -- even before I was doing crime -- so it made sense to turn myself in and get it over with, but most of all, I became a father and wanted to just do my time while my son was a baby instead of the cops accidentally figuring out who I was and taking me to jail when my son was older.”
Bank workers joined the AMA and confirmed Clay’s approach would work. Reddit user ‘varcas’ confirmed: “[I] used to be a teller, we were told just give them what they want, but if you manage to slip in the $50 dye pack (looks like a sleeve of $1,000 in $50's) we'd get a $100 bonus.”
Though not every bank employee he encountered played along with Tumey’s plan.
“One teller skimped out on me and didn't give me all I had asked for, and I told her, "You can do better than that." She just shrugged -- palms up like a little kid -- and said, "That's all I got." Pretty ballsy on her part.”
The plucky bank clerk even pocketed a $100 bill which according to Tumey eventually meant she got fired.
“When my lawyer first brought all my paperwork to me, I noticed that the amount was $100 off for that particular bank. I told him I was 100% sure that they had the amount wrong. So he told the police, the police told the bank, the bank checked the video...
...and they saw her take it.”
Tumey studied failed bank robberies online to perfect his master plan. Though he never carried a weapon as such, he did have all angles covered …
“I strapped a hammer to my leg under my pants just below my knee in case I needed to break out of a locked door or something, but I never used a gun or anything like that.”
As with anything like this online the validity of Tumey’s felonious past was questioned, but this document seems to prove he did at least rob some banks and serve time.
With his stretch in jail behind him, he claim’s to be a reformed character and has written a book about his experience – The Blue Chip Project. Tumey’s using Kickstarter to fund and self-publish his book. He’s is just the sort of guy I’d like to quiz on his murky past over a pint in the pub so I’ll be buying his book if he gets the project off the ground. Join in the AMA on Reddit if there’s something you want to ask him here.
I would, but I’m just off to NatWest to make a ‘withdrawal’ …