Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Life Imitates Art

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.

8 comments:

tigerfoxbear said...

I've always thought, and probably incorrectly now, that nobody has ever gotten away with bank robbery before, because they eventually get caught trying to rob again, or get caught by the money trail. I was shocked to read that the $50 million stolen in Ireland is still missing. After all, it's not like Ireland is that nice, to be honest Europe ain't that nice, you'd think someone who had a lot of money would be spotted right away. They'd be the ones with white teeth and deoderant!

Gargantus said...

or the ones buying a ticket to somewhere else...

Mrs. McDreamy said...

I just can't believe how creative and serious planning people go through to pull off a heist. I mean it seems all fun and games in Ocean's Eleven and what not, but it is a lot of work and hoping all goes right. But I guess if you walk away with 50 million, it was all worth it.

BA said...

Yep, ends justify the means. Get rich or die trying. That's what life is all about. These guys have fulfilled the purpose of life.

Alice said...

I think that they not only studied the movies they played in them... Ever since it happened I've thought it was Bruce Willis himself that pulled this off, don't you think so too?

Marc said...

An interesting theory indeed Alice... His career has slumped of late and he did have to suffer through the alleged nuptials between Ms. Moore and Mr. Kutcher. Perhaps it was all too much.

tigerfoxbear said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tigerfoxbear said...

I agree with Alison, if you make enough money, any crime is worth it, both morally and financially. I mean, killing someone to make $50.00 is reprehensible, but killing someone for $5 million, still bad, but not horrible, $50 million, basically this is not bad, it;s actually good for you.

6:05 PM