One of the largest bank heists ever went down last night in Kent, England. The take totals more than $43 million and the police have no real leads. The craziest thing of all is how it happened. The robbers pulled the bank manager over early last night using an unmarked Volvo with a flashing blue light behind its front grill. The manager, who was convinced the men were police officers, was "arrested," handcuffed, and placed in the back of the Volvo. Simultaneously, two men kidnapped the manager's wife and son from their home, telling them that the manager had been involved in an "accident." The robbers then coerced the manager into take them to his bank in the middle of the night by threatening him at gunpoint with harm to his family. They got to the bank at 1am, tied the night shift employees up, and left just after 2am having unloaded 25 million British Pounds into a large white van.
Sound familiar? Well, it should. Bandits, a Bruce Willis film from 2001, involves just such a heist. Characters played by Willis, Troy Garity, and Billy Bob Thorton take a bank manager and his family hostage during a series of bank robberies. They rob the manager's bank the next day by coercing him to accompany them to the bank. We'll see if this UK bunch turns out to be brighter than Willis and his crew, who were ultimately turned in by a woman (Kate Blanchett) that they had befriended.
Nor is this the first time that life has imitated a movie bank job. In 1997, Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu, a Kevlar sporting duo armed with assault rifles and handguns, robbed a North Hollywood bank. The police responded quickly and the pair soon found themselves in a Heat style shootout as they attempted to get away; Phillips was shot 11 times and Matasareanu 29. Phillips ended up shooting and killing himself before he was apprehended, while Matasareanu surrendered to officers after stealing a truck that wouldn't start (he later died before he could receive medical attention).
What I'm really curious about in all of this is whether these bank robbers knew they were pulling a movie job. Did they study how the gigs went down on film and try to plan accordingly? They certainly seem to have covered their bases so far... and if they're the same crew that pulled this very similar $50 million job in Belfast, Ireland in 2004 (purportedly the largest bank heist ever), then they've got this racket down to a science.