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.