Convicted Bank Robber Shares Branch Security Insights

[Note: If The Financial Brand covered another industry, we probably wouldn’t spend so much time talking about security. But robbers rob financial institutions because “that’s where the money is.” Security impacts the consumer’s experience more so at financial institutions than just about anywhere else (except the airport). So The Financial Brand figured who else would be better to talk to about branch security than a convicted bank robber. Enjoy!] When you’re in prison, you’ve got plenty of time to learn some things. For instance, guys convicted for armed robbery quickly learn that it’s much smarter to pass notes at banks than hold up a liquor store at gunpoint. Not only will you face a lighter sentence, you don’t have to worry about someone whipping out a shotgun and shooting back. There’s a lot one can learn about robbing banks when in prison. And who better to learn from than Troy Evans? “You’ll only get 30-36 months if you use a note,” he says. Back in 1992, Troy Evans was sentenced to 13 years in the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado. He was convicted of multiple bank robberies in three states over six months. How many banks did he rob? “More than the five I was convicted of,” Evans admits. Evans biggest haul: $17,000, when he caught a teller in the middle of a count. Evans only served seven years of his sentence before being released early, but earned two degrees with a 4.0 GPA during his time. Since his release, Evans has dedicated himself to helping financial institutions minimize their risk of robbery. Capitalizing on his experiences as a bank robber and his reputation as an ex-con, Evans has forged a successful career as a noted speaker and branch security consultant who’s authored two books. He has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, FOX, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, The New Yorker and more. Evans has even published a DVD/CD training tool for financial institutions, Deterring & Responding to Robberies. It may sound a little like the fox guarding the hen house, but Evans has achieved a truly impressive turnaround — something very similar to Frank Abagnale’s story. A “hello” from staff can mean “goodbye robber” For research, Evans met and interviewed some 300 convicted bank robbers, and he’s found a lot of common themes. For instance, what’s the one thing robbers are looking for when casing a branch? “They are always looking for the path of least resistance,” he says. Evans would always “case the joint,” as he puts it, before the robbery, sometimes 2-3 weeks in advance. “I’d come in and ask to exchange a $10 bill for a roll of quarters,” he explains. While conducting the transaction, Evans would note how engaged staff were. Were employees paying attention? Did they say hello? Did someone extend a hand and welcome him? “The last thing a robber wants is for someone to notice them. Someone to look them in the eyes,” he says. “If anything makes a robber uncomfortable, they’ll move on to another location,” says