Slick Bank Robber’s Ruse: Three-Transaction Monte

There’s more than one way to rob a bank, as a perp employing a scam that seemed ripped straight from a Marx Brothers movie proved on Dec. 17. The thief visited the City and Suburban Federal Savings Bank at 1404 Second Avenue just before 11 a.m. But rather than do anything prosaic, such as handing the teller a threatening note or pointing a gun at her head, the perp presented her with $41 worth of quarters and asked her to change them into dollar bills. She did so, handing him back 41 dollar bills.

Next he gave her six $100 bills and asked her to change them into $20’s. After that transaction was completed (and with the 21-year-old teller’s mind already probably starting to swim), he decided that he wanted a $600 money order instead. The teller explained that he’d have to pay a $2.50 fee for the service and, furthermore, that the maximum amount the bank was allowed to issue a money order for was $500.

That killed the deal as far as the customer was concerned, so he asked for his money back. The teller returned his six $100 bills; he returned the $600 in $20’s that the teller had given him and departed in an unknown direction.

It was only about an hour later that the bank clerk, who’d placed the $20’s in a cash box, decided to count them. As it turned out, she was short $460-the thief had absconded with 23 of the $20 bills, leaving just enough money behind to cover his tracks.

No Rest for Hubby

If you’re married-or if you co-habit with a significant other in one of modern culture’s other various domestic permutations-chances are that you’ve been kicked out of bed. Literally. Though perhaps not with the extreme prejudice that one Park Avenue resident reported to the police on Dec. 30.

The 49-year-old victim told 19th Precinct detectives that his wife didn’t want him to sleep in their bed. Many of our wives don’t want us to sleep in their beds, typically after a bout of bad behavior on our part. However, it’s rare that they make their displeasure known by scratching us and trying to pull us out of bed, as this husband claims his better half did to him.

Then he says she jumped back into bed to prevent him from doing so. When he tried to sit back on the bed, she delivered several kicks to his chest, causing physical injury.

After being debriefed by the detective squad, the victim-who showed up at the station house with his lawyer-decided not to press charges against his 5-foot-5, 120-pound wife. The matter was referred to family court.

There was apparently no previous history of domestic violence in the marriage. The victim-in words that may resonate with beleaguered husbands everywhere-claims that at the time of the incident, he was merely “trying to get some rest.”

Another Silver Raid

The crime spree at Christofle, such as it is, continued on Dec. 28 when an unknown perp absconded with a $7,900 sterling-silver vase. This was the second shoplifting event at the high-end silver merchant, located at 680 Madison Avenue, in the month of December. On Dec. 9, as previously reported in the Crime Blotter, a male dressed in black visited the store, located in the Helmsley Carlton Hotel, and made off with 60 pieces of silver worth $3,960.

There was no surveillance camera at the store-a decision one suspects the management may be revisiting-but the cops hope that the Helmsley Carlton’s security cameras, which face the street, may offer a view of the front of the shop, and perhaps even of the criminal fleeing the scene.

Lost in Translation

Have you ever noticed that the Japanese seem to be the most diligent tourists around? While the Italians and the French seem to travel by instinct, as if sensing their destinations like dogs sniffing the air, the Japanese take a more academic approach to the enterprise, relentlessly consulting guidebooks and maps.

That bookish approach proved to be the undoing of one visitor from the Land of the Rising Sun on Dec. 18. The victim, a 57-year-old resident of Suginami-ku, Tokyo, paused on a bench at Lexington Avenue between 67th and 68th streets around noon to consult a map. So profound was her concentration that, as the woman was trying to reorient herself, some crook made off with her pocketbook, which she had placed at her feet. It wasn’t until after the tourist had finished poring over her map that she noticed her purse, which contained an $800 gold ring and a $500 digital camera, was missing.

Ralph Gardner can be reached at

Slick Bank Robber’s Ruse: Three-Transaction Monte