The 5 Best (or Worst) Bank Robbery Excuses

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As if banks didn’t have enough problems, the number of bank robberies is on the rise in many parts of the country. Last year, the FBI reported a nearly 20% increase in U.S. robberies in the fourth quarter, right as the economy was cratering. In total, there were about 6,000 violations nationwide in 2008, costing banks upwards of $60 million.  While statistics aren’t in yet for this year, many American cities are already reporting spikes in robberies.

Every person has a story (bank robbers included), but do these excuses speak to the desperate mood of the disenfranchised in this country, or are they just, well, crazy? You decide.

Here are our five favorite reasons for committing a heist from this past year:

1. The Recession Made Me Do It

Earlier this year, a man brandished his pistol and held up a Houston bank. When he was finally apprehended by FBI agents, he blamed the economic downturn for putting him on the wrong track. “I’m only doing this to eat,” he said. “They’re not letting me work.”

2.    Don’t Look at Me, The Bank Started It

Just before Christmas last year, Gregory William Hines decided his local bank had given him nothing but grief all his life. So he stormed into the bank with a vengeance and an empty sac. Hines later told police he had robbed the bank because “they had been robbing him for years.”

3.    To Escape My Overbearing Wife

An unhappy Pennsylvania husband decided anything would be better than living with his wife, even jail. Rather than get arrested for something simple like jaywalking, he decided to go out in a blaze of glory and hold up a bank. The man held up tellers with a BB gun and actually told them to call the police on him. He’s since gotten his divorce and been sentence to 3-6 years in jail.


4.    To Feel Empowered Again

As it turns out, robbing banks isn’t just for men. There have been more Bonnie and Clyde heists in the last year. One woman using the pseudonym Jane Smith made off with $10,000. When she was caught and asked why she did it, she had just gone through a tough divorce and needed to do something for herself. "[It] made me feel like I was in control again,” she said.

5.    What Recession? I Just Have an Unhealthy Addiction to Internet Poker

Back in 2005, Greg Hogan, Jr. had everything going for him. He was in his sophomore year of college and already the president of his class. Then he got caught robbing a few thousand dollars from a Wachovia Bank (Stock Quote: WFC) after threatening the teller with a pistol. He explained that he intended to use that money to help pay off gambling debts from playing internet poker.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.

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