Time delay locks, infrared beams, multiple key holders, highly-trained security personnel - pulling off a bank robbery in this day and age is no mean feat. Long gone is the era of Bonnie and Clyde, when an outlaw could simply stroll into a sparsely guarded bank unchallenged, draw their Smith and Wesson and point it at the cashier until they handed over a big bag of notes.
No: apparently, the banks don’t like people taking their money, so they’ve come up with all manner of ingenious ways of preventing people with masks and stripey jumpers from pinching their hard-earned bonuses!
Just in case you’re thinking of trying it, there are a few things you need to bear in mind...
Location, Location, Location
When selecting your target, it’s important to remember that just like buying a house, the setting is the most vital of factors to consider. It’s no good sprinting out to a getaway car and then sitting in rush-hour traffic waiting for the police to come and pick you up. The most secure banks are the ones that are hardest to get away from with the fuzz on your tail!
Also, think about how much cash there is inside - is it a big bank, are there safety deposit boxes, is your booty going to be worth the risk?
The Bank Manager
Here’s a tricky one. Key management is something bankers take pretty seriously these days. In fact a whole industry has sprung up around making sure that only approved people can get hold of your keys. They track your every move, monitor and record key usage.
Now, if the only person standing between you and a big pile of cash is the bank manager, and he has a key on a string around his neck, there’s only one thing for it. You’re going to have to kidnap him. Grab him when he’s least expecting it: at the gym, in the toilet, or coming out of McDonald’s with an armful of hamburgers.
If they’ve got a secure key cabinet, however, you may be in trouble. Your only chance is to wait for the opportune moment to smash it open and steal the keys. Alternatively, you could try impersonating the bank manager you kidnapped earlier.
It doesn’t matter how many times you tell Johnny not to be a hero, it’s his job to prevent you from getting out of the bank with his wages. In fact, he probably gets a bonus if he apprehends you. So these guys are not to be underestimated.
Lots of them will be ex-army or former police officers. Others will have had some sort of forces training but have been kicked out for being a loose cannon, so don’t be surprised if you see them coming at you like a wild animal with a Taser and a baton!
Time delay safes
This is the one that needs the most planning. It’s not good bursting into the bank at 3pm, or tunnelling in during the early hours of the morning, only to find that the vault simply will not open until 9am the following morning due to it having a time delay lock.
It’s advisable to get a man, or woman, on the inside who can advise as to when the vaults will be accessible and whether you need to get in during the day or at night.
Exploding dye packs
Let’s assume you’ve managed to circumnavigate millions of pounds worth of security and actually move some cash or valuables out of the bank. The security guys aren’t done with you yet. It’s highly likely there’ll be a dye pack hidden in your stolen goods.
Just when you’re least expecting it, perhaps when you’re sitting in a warehouse with your buddies counting your ill-gotten gains, there’s every chance that you’ll come across an exploding bundle of cash that splatters you and your lovely lolly with indelible ink. That’s not helpful at all when it comes to spending your cash, or indeed being seen out in public, which is exactly why they do it.
So there you have it. Not easy is it? And think of all the stuff we haven’t covered, like numbered banknotes, CCTV, undercover security people, and motion sensors.
Being a bank robber was so much easier a couple of hundred years ago; a much more viable career option and one that almost guaranteed you’d be a household name in the unlikely event that you were caught!
Written by Muhammad Hamid, a passionate blogger with experience in the security industry.