This Is a Stickup! Oh, But I Don’t Have a Gun

Not that we’re suggesting you attempt it, but there are good ways and bad ways to rob banks, as two recent incidents suggest. In the latter category falls the aspiring crook who visited the Citibank at 757 Madison Avenue shortly after noon on Sept. 30.

The suspect held a note against the security glass for the teller to see. It read: “This is a bank robbery.” But then he shot himself in the proverbial foot by adding: “I don’t have a weapon. Give me all the money you have.”

It’s possible the bank’s heroic staff would have balked at his demand even if he’d been brandishing an assault rifle. But it probably stiffened their resolve to reject his request knowing that he couldn’t blow them away. After two different tellers declined to fork over any cash, the humbled criminal, sporting a salt-and-pepper mustache and wearing a gray windbreaker, fled southbound on Madison Avenue.

More successful was the perp who visited the Bank of America at 1143 Lexington Avenue on Oct. 5. He passed a note written on the back of an envelope to a teller. But the teller passed it right back to him; apparently there have been so many bank robberies lately that tellers have become blasé. According to the police, the teller informed the suspect that the bank had a “policy of not accepting envelopes.”

The bandit described earlier would probably have fled the scene at that point, his tail firmly between his legs. But this brazen bad guy, dressed in a Yankee cap and black sunglasses, simply passed the envelope back to the teller; for emphasis, he placed a black handgun into the partition separating them and told her to hurry up.

Hurry the bank worker did, emptying her top cash drawer and passing both $1,899 and the note back to the robber. He then fled in an unknown direction.

Crutch Control

Crutches can prove invaluable if you’ve twisted an ankle or broken a leg. But they may also double as chukka sticks in the hands of the wrong person, as one pedestrian discovered to his discoloration on Oct. 11.

The victim was exiting a deli at 1662 First Avenue shortly after midnight when another man on crutches began calling him names and yelling obscenities. Whether the victim did anything to incite his adversary, a police report on the matter neglected to mention.

However, as the victim—a 37-year-old East 87th Street resident—tried to walk away, the suspect turned his crutches into weapons, wielding them with impressive martial artistry; he struck his opponent on the left side of the face, causing the victim’s left eye to swell and also causing a laceration near his left temple. The suspect then fled— undoubtedly with unexpected alacrity for a crippled gent—in an unknown direction. A police canvass of the area proved negative.

A seasoned police officer cautioned that crutches and even wheelchairs can sometimes be nothing more than, in essence, theatrical devices. “You’ll see them in a wheelchair begging for money, and two hours later they’re walking down the street better than you and I,” he observed. “It’s just a prop.”

This Is a Stickup! Oh, But I Don’t Have a Gun