Fatal Robbery Puts Bankers on Notice

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 19, 2007 12:00 am  

President and CEO of Metropolitan Nation Bank Lunsford Bridges was visiting a relative in Hot Springs on Dec. 23 when he got the call informing him that one of his employees had been shot during a robbery.

"We haven't finished making all the adjustments to [the reward program]," Hammonds said. "We'll work with the police and the FBI in that program on how much the reward [should be]."

The Heist

The two most common bank robbery techniques are the note job and the takeover.

In the note job, the robber, who may be armed, will hand the teller a note demanding money. Note-job robbers want to attract as little attention as possible. 

"Once he has obtained the cash, he'll flee," Rehder said. "Once that cash is gone, ... then he'll come back and do another."

Over the last 15 years, the average take nationwide in that type of robbery is $2,500, he said. 
Banks set different limits on their cash drawers, even within the same bank branch; one drawer could contain $5,000 while another could hold $20,000, Hammonds said. But a robber wouldn't know which teller had which amount.

The more dangerous — and more lucrative — crime is the takeover heist. It usually involves more than one robber, and the perpetrators want all the attention on them. 

"This usually involves a great deal of profanity, counters are jumped, guns are thrust into people's faces," Rehder said.

The takeover is the most feared in the banking industry, too. Almost all bank robbery violence occurs in takeovers. Even if the workers aren't hurt physically, they sustain some physiological damage to the point where they might file a workers' compensation claim, Rehder said.

Some workers quit after the robbery, "which is always an expensive proposition because you have to train [new] people," he said. 

In the past 15 years, the average loss for a bank is $25,000 during a takeover robbery because the vaults and all the tellers' drawers are targeted.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures depositors against bank failures, doesn't insure a bank's loss from a robbery. Rehder said most banks, especially larger ones, are self-insured. 



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