Lock Up Your Loved Ones

Many of my recent posts have been centered around my business and I think it is time to touch on the importance of the loved ones in our lives. It is not what we have in our lives but who, and we all need to ask ourselves if we are spending the least time with the people who are the most important? Let these people know you love them and let them know often. Make them feel special every day. Don’t wait one more day lest it is too late. Regrets down the road are mistakes made today. Please don’t ever take these people for granted. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a family of people who, through trials and tribulations, have been vigilant in their love. When I was on drugs, they tried to intervene. When I lost touch, they didn’t lose hope. When I was branded society’s outcast, they hugged me tightest. When they were taken away from me, I finally knew their worth. Let these people know you love them and let them know often. Let them know how special they are every day. Watch your kids and fight to protect them no matter how much they rebel against it. Pick up the phone and call your parents, or better yet, visit them, they will not always be there for you. Hug your loved ones close and be true to your commitments and you will have that love reflected back to you. Lock up your loved ones so that you will never have to regret the things that were not said or the love not given. They will be your cheerleaders, your confidants, and your reality check. As you are there for them, they will be there for you. It will make a difference to them and it will make a difference in you.
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Robbery Training – Some Final Thoughts

Your frontline people are the most important and powerful robbery deterrent you have.  These individuals can keep you from being targeted.  Take a page out of the Wal-Mart book and make it a policy to meet and great as many people as possible who come through your doors.  You will end up pleasing your legitimate customers while scaring off any potential robbers. Because complacency can be your greatest enemy, I would encourage you to implement the following immediately. First, create a suspicious activity log.  Supply every workstation with a journal or notebook- something within reach where a quick note can be written if that person sees something out of the ordinary or someone they do not recognize. Management should review these notebooks, weekly, if not daily.  If a pattern is detected, then your institution may have been cased for a robbery and appropriate measures should be taken. Second, have all employees sign a “non-disclosure” form.  One of the reasons I was successful as a bank and credit union robber was the fact that I had at one time dated a teller.  I knew about bait money, dye packs, second drawers, tracking devices, when money was counted, and so forth.  Little did she know at the time that she was providing me with valuable information that I would later utilize as a bank and credit union robber.  Require all of your employees to sign a “non-disclosure” form indicating that they will not share with anyone (family included) the policies of your institution surrounding security, procedures, and training.  Explain that if the information fell into the wrong hand, it could someday be used against them in a robbery situation.
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Robbery Recovery

The first step to take immediately following a robbery is to lock the door.  This eliminates the possibility of a hostage should the robber attempt to re-enter the institution after law enforcement arrives.  Employees also should attempt to observe the robbers route and means of escape, and then relay that information immediately to law enforcement via phone.  In addition, and just as importantly, each and every individual who was involved in the robbery should immediately (and not 10, 20, or 30 minutes later) write down every single detail, description and impression involving that robbery. After my apprehension, and while going through trial, the most damaging testimony came from one teller who had taken it upon herself to immediately write down every description and detail that she could recall following the robbery- my hat and what kind it was; my sunglasses and what brand they were, my shirt and what was on it, my pants and what brand they were; and finally the brand and color of my shoes.  When she took the stand and began describing these details (as I was apprehended with these items), my attorney leaned over and said, “You better take the plea they are offering, you will never overcome this testimony.”  Make it policy at your financial institution that everyone involved in a robbery must immediately write down all impressions and descriptions as they are able to recall.
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Robbery Prevention

Having met and interviewed over 300 convicted bank and credit union robbers, I have identified a couple of common threads. The first is that every institution is cased. No potential robber comes into a town, approaches the very first financial institution they come across and makes a decision to rob that branch. The potential criminal is likely to take at least one of these steps: drive by several times deciding where to park their get-a-way vehicle; walk by the building a number of times trying to get a feel for its layout; enter the branch and request a roll of quarters for a $10 bill while they are checking out the facility; act as though they are filling out a deposit slip at the island only to walk back out as if they forgot something; meet with a loan officer under the guise of an interested borrower; or sit in nearby restaurant timing patrol cars and response time The bottom line is that every institution is cased to some extent and employees need to be aware of suspicious activities- anything that is out of the ordinary. The majority of the people that come into your institutions are legitimate customers that you see every day, every week or every month. These are not the people that should concern you. It is those you have never seen before that should cause you worry. Make it a policy that if any employee sees an individual they do not recognize enter your institution (and if they are not in the middle of some type of transaction), approach that individual, extend a hand, and say, “Thank you for visiting our branch. What can we do for you today?” That alone may keep the potential robber from choosing your institution- the last thing a criminal wants is someone looking them in the eye and getting a good description. Your legitimate customer will love it as fantastic customer service; potential robbers will deem that as reason enough to head down the road. The second common thread I found in interviewing convicted robbers was the importance of male presence in the lobby. The potential robber fears someone who may play “Joe Hero” and try to thwart what they are attempting. I walked into dozens of institutions with every intent of committing that robbery only to walk up to the teller, hand the person a $10 bill, and ask for a roll or quarters based on male presence. If you are unable to keep a male presence in your institution consistently, make sure you have a male presence on Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Fifty percent or more of all robberies occur between these hours on this particular day of the week. Whether that person is a teller of the bank or the President, a male must be visible in the lobby during this time frame.
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Some Bank and Credit Union Robbery Tips

For more than 15 years, I pursued a career as a self-employed Addict, Drug Dealer, Gambler and Thief. I risked my life and sacrificed my family to satisfy my need for money, attention and independence. Ultimately, my disregard of values and discipline resulted in a 13 year Federal Prison sentence. Following a six-month crime spree, which included five armed bank/credit union robberies in three states, my self-destructive lifestyle was brought to an end. I soon found myself within the razor wire and armed confines of the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado where my neighbors included such notorious criminals as Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Facing the obstacles, pressures and violence of prison life, I was determined that his time behind bars would not be wasted. I chose Education as my saving grace, despite the elimination of Federal Pell Grants for the incarcerated. Undeterred, I set out to secure funding on my own through scholarships, grants and foundation assistance. After six months of submitting applications, writing essays, begging, pleading and selling, I landed his first scholarship for one class. That was a beginning, and when I walked out the doors of prison, I carried with me two degrees, both obtained with a 4.0 GPA and placement on the Dean’s and President’s List. Today, I am a motivational speaker, sharing my story of endurance and personal transformation with audiences of all ages. For nearly a decade now I have provided financial institutions with real-life insight surrounding robbery prevention, apprehension and recovery. By giving you a look into the “mind of the enemy” I am confident that the suggestions below, if implemented, will; dramatically decrease the chance of your financial institution being targeted for a robbery; increase the chances of a quick apprehension of the assailant(s), and; aid in a speedy and full recovery of monies taken. Obviously bank robbery is not as Hollywood portrays-it is not John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and it is certainly not a crime that is committed by individuals who are living a glamorous lifestyle. The people who are committing these crimes are strung out on drugs, they have a gambling debt to pay, or are about to lose their homes to foreclose. Robbery is very much an act of desperation. Wherever drugs are available, gambling occurs, and unemployment is prevalent, the crime of robbery will occur. This being the case, how do you “robber proof” your institutions? It starts with the support of senior management. You must create an environment in which a potential robber does not want to be. A robber will always take the past of least resistance.
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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Family, Friends, Colleagues and Clients! As the year closes I reflect on all that I have to be grateful for and all of the many people who touched my life in 2013! I am also internally grateful to all of you who reached out to me as this year also marked the loss of my twelve year old four legged son Archie to cancer. Although it has been over four months I still feel the pain of losing a family member and give special thanks to those who give me their shoulder, listen to my stories and share with me their similar losses. On a professional note 2013 was a fantastic year business wise and I just delivered my final keynote of the year for the Alabama Bankers Association. There is truly something to be said for Southern Hospitality and it is always a treat traveling to that part of the country! I enjoyed my favorite Southern dish of collard greens with a BLT sandwich…and of course the tomatoes were friend and green! While this time of the year is a joyous one for most of us there are those who view the holidays as a time of dread, being overwhelmed and fear of the unknown. Thus I would be remiss if I did not offer something that I often share with those I encounter in the world as a Professional Speaker. Please reflect on this and reach out to those who may suffer from “internal prisons”. INTERNAL PRISONS: THE THEFT OF PRODUCTIVITY IN OUR WORKFORCE As a professional speaker, one of my biggest challenges is to grab the attention of my audience within the first few minutes of the presentation- grab them by the throat if you will. I do this by coming out in a suit and tie, following an introduction in which I have been described as a college graduate who earned both of his degrees with a 4.0 GPA and placement on the Deans and Presidents List. I am portrayed as someone who was once an honors roll student, star athlete, father and family man. Upon entering the stage I ask the audience to take a close look at my face. “This is the face, as your were just told, of a college graduate, a college graduate who earned both his degrees with the highest academic honors available. This is the face of a kind man, an honest man, a trustworthy man, and a man of his word. Please take a close look at this face.” Now the hook- I then turn around, pull a pantyhose mask over my face and turn back around brandishing a toy pistol. I now ask them to take a look at this face. “This is the face of a man who on March 20th, 1992 walked in to the First Tier National Bank, pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the teller and demanded all of the twenties, fifties and hundreds. This would be the first of five armed bank
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Holiday Travel Tips

Been another wonderful week at home sleeping in my own bed but still being able to touch others through webinars.  This past week it was in partnership with BankersHub.  And webinar company specializing in providing financial institutions with all of their compliance and training needs. For the past several years I have been delivering training via webinars through BankersHub and working with the co-founders Erin Handel and Michael Beird is always such a pleasure…true professionals! One more speaking engagement this year before shutting down for the holidays!  Going to Birmingham, AL to deliver a keynote for the Alabama Bankers Association…which means Southern Hospitality and Southern Food! 🙂  And I am going to have it all…fried okra, fried tomatoes, fried pickles and fried catfish and that’s just for starters!  I love the South and will give you a full report when I return and may even have a few pictures of my culinary treats…with an explanation on how I intend to drop the pounds I will surely put on! Finally, with all of the holiday travel approaching I want to provide you with a few tips on staying safe…let this be a joyous time of the year not one that you look back on with regret…preparation and common sense is always the key! Plan Ahead…last Minute Plans are Stressful Lock up Tight and have a Checklist Purchase a Light Timer…these really are a great Deterrent Ask a Friend or Neighbor to House Sit Travel Light…you will probably come home with more then you left with! Buy Gifts with Travel in Mind Check your Bags and Carry Your Presents Don’t Carry all Documents, Money and Credit Cards in One Place Check Your Insurance (auto and health) before Heading Out And Practice Common Sense…to easy to fly by the Seat of our Pants when in Holiday Revelry!
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