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Dumb bank robbers

Unlike John Dillinger, these thieves aren't smooth criminals.


KISS and tell
In September 2005, a man phoned a KISS FM (103.5) radio call-in program about confessions and bragged—in detail—about robbing a Jewel TCF branch. He boasted he and his fellow robbers tied up bank workers and took $81,000 from the vault but managed to steer clear of dye packs. He also said a female bank employee had been in on the job: “If you want to rob a bank, you need someone on the inside,” the caller said. FBI agents eventually traced the call to the cell phone of Randy Washington from south suburban Dolton, who was taken into custody.

Clowning around
It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: A guy walks into a bank wearing a clown mask, red nose and red wig. This Bozo-esque bandit held up the teller of a North Side Chase Bank branch with a fake gun, then attempted to make his getaway on a frickin’ bicycle. An off-duty Chicago police officer tackled the robber. (No word on whether anybody got sprayed with seltzer.)

Identity theft
Careless crook Thomas Infante made it ridiculously easy for the FBI to solve the robbery he carried out in December at a Fifth Third Bank on the Northwest Side: To announce the crime, he handed the teller a handwritten note on a piece of paper, which—d’oh!—happened to be his pay stub, a document that, of course, included his name and address. Police immediately arrested the lamebrain at his home in northwest suburban Cary.

A royal scam
Nigerian-prince-needs-money e-mail schemes are all too common, but who in their right mind would take the bait? Michael Rayfield was on a Harold Washington Library computer in April 2007, communicating with someone claiming to be a South African needing money to travel to the U.S. So Rayfield headed to a nearby Chase Bank branch on Jackson Boulevard and handed the teller a handwritten note: I WANT YOU TO EMPTY YOUR DRAWER AND GIVE ALL YOUR MONEY. After wiring $700 of his $1,000 in ill-gotten gains to Johannesburg, Rayfield was arrested because a Chicago policeman saw the surveillance footage and recognized Rayfield as a homeless man in the area.

Friends don’t let friends rob banks
While awaiting trial for a crime he was sure would send him to the slammer, Mickey Loniello had one last wish: to have a kick-ass going-away party. And what better way to pay for the festivities, he thought, than to rob a bank? Unfortunately for Loniello, one of his would-be accomplices wore a wire for the FBI and helped crash the party before it began. When Loniello and his posse pulled up to their target, a Chase Bank branch in Oak Park, they were greeted by FBI agents and arrested.

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