He stole $20 from a California bank, but left something far more valuable behind, cops say


The man walked into a Bank of America in San Gabriel, Calif., at 5:15 p.m. Monday.

He told tellers he couldn’t retrieve money from the ATM outside, then shouted at a teller counting cash and grabbed some bills, Sgt. Rebecca Gomez of the San Gabriel Police Department told The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The two struggled over the cash before the man fled with about $20.

He also left his ID and ATM cards behind, Gomez told the publication. Police deemed the crime a robbery because he used force to take the cash. An investigation into the crime continues.

The hapless robber’s not the first would-be John Dillinger to discover bank heists can be harder than they look in the movies, however.

In Lake City, Fla., Donald Towns, 41, walked out of a bank with $1,200 in cash Monday, police told WJAX. He was arrested 36 minutes later, in part because he had initially told bank officials he wanted to open an account and provided his driver’s license to be photocopied. Police said Towns then handed the manager a note demanding cash – written on the back of a medical discharge note with his name on it.

Alvin Lee Neal, 56, was sentenced Tuesday to three years and 10 months in prison for the May robbery of a Wells Fargo bank in San Diego in which he first swiped his ATM card before demanding cash, providing the bank with his identity, reported The San Diego Union Tribune. Neal got away with $565 – briefly.

In December, a robber wearing a “Deadpool” mask robbed a Madison, Wis., bank, but dropped the loot when a dye pack exploded, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

And in July, New York police arrested a “very bad bank robber” who tried and failed to rob three Manhattan banks, reported The New York Post. Police said Richard Callison, 22, of Oradell, N.Y., left all three banks with nothing. In one case, the teller simply locked her cash drawer and walked away after Callison passed her a note demanding money, police said.

FBI statistics show 4,251 banks, credit unions, armored cars and other financial institutions were robbed in the United States in 2016. At the time the statistics were released, investigators had identified 2,537 of the 4,900 people involved in robbing, burglarizing or otherwise stealing from banks that year. The FBI said 40 percent of those were narcotics users and 27 percent had been previously convicted of robbing, burglarizing or stealing from banks.

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