The FBI Regular Joe Bandit And Broderick Crawford

September 4, 2013

I know that I'm getting older. Fact is, some folks -- particularly those who know me well -- say that I'm also getting cranky (maybe crankier would be more accurate). Given that I was dyspeptic at a fairly young age, it's probably not that great a thing for me to be getting even more so.

There was a time, way back when, when bank robbers were a big thing. John Dillinger. Willie Sutton. Bonnie and Clyde. Bernie Madoff -- no, wait, he wasn't mixed in with the old time bank robbery gang.  Nix the Madoff reference, okay?  Anyway, the whole gun-totin', stick 'em up  bank job thing was romanticized in the black-and-white movies and weekly TV crime shows with high-speed car chases, blazing Tommy Guns, gun molls, and bags of money. In the end, some crusty, street smart cop caught the bad guys. Think Broderick Crawford, for example. Who's Broderick Crawford? Waddami some goddamn Wiki page? Go look it up! Okay fine, here's an embed video:

Anyway, as I was saying, in the old days you robbed a bank and then you jumped into the waiting getaway car and took off as the alarm bells rang. Pretty soon the cops got on a microphone back at the police station and put out an All Points Bulletin, the old APB.  Every cop, every trooper, every FBI agent heard the APB and took off after the bad guys. And as the squads, troopers, and agents were in hot pursuit, what exactly were they looking for? Oh, the APB usually said something like: Be on the lookout. Armed and dangerous male, five ten to six feet, 165 to 180 pounds, wearing a black leather jacket, black pants, black shoes, black hat. Just robbed the Maple Town Bank.  Suspect is believed to be Willie "the Snake." Suspect vehicle is black four-door model with license plate ABC1234.  Approach with caution.  

Once upon a time, the good guys always got the bad guy.

My, how things have changed.

Not only has it gotten harder to figure out the good and bad guys but the magic has gone out of the whole crime movie and TV show.  There's just too much violence nowadays. Romanticizing crime and robberies ain't what it used to be. You know, you can probably steal more money with a hedge fund or high speed trading script than waiting in line for the next teller. On top of it all, the whole APB thing just ain't what it used to be.  Consider this press release from the FBI:

Regular Joe Bandit Sought by FBI 
May be Responsible for Five Metroplex Bank Robberies

FBI Dallas
August 30, 2013 
Public Affairs Specialist Katherine Chaumont (972) 559-5000

The FBI and local law enforcement authorities are looking for a man who may be responsible for robbing five banks since February 12, 2013.

Each robbery has occurred at a bank branch located inside a large retail store. In each instance, the man approaches the teller counter, demands cash verbally, and also presents a note. He has also indicated that he may be armed with a weapon. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, he exits through the main doors of the anchor store. To date, no one has been physically harmed.

The most recent robbery occurred on Thursday, August 15, 2013, at Woodforest National Bank, 1035 Hickory Creek Drive, Hickory Creek, Texas. He was seen fleeing the parking lot in a medium-to-large size black SUV.

The robber is described as a white male, 40 to 50 years old, approximately 5'8" to 6'0" tall, approximately 160 to 185 pounds, with a medium build; he has facial hair (several-days' growth) and a tanned complexion. The suspect has been dubbed the "Regular Joe Bandit" due to his casual appearance and composed demeanor. He wears glasses or sunglasses, long sleeves (hooded sweatshirt or casual button down), jeans, and tennis shoes. He also wears a baseball cap that appears solid in color or may have lettering or a logo that is the same color as the cap.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is urged to call the Dallas Field Office of the FBI at 972-559-5000.

Robbery locations throughout the Metroplex:

DateBankAddressCityRetail Store
February 12, 2013Wells Fargo Bank2301 Justin RoadFlower MoundTom Thumb
May 28, 2013First Convenience Bank7505 N. MacArthur BoulevardIrvingKroger
June 18, 2013Woodforest National Bank9101 N. Tarrant ParkwayNorth Richland HillsWal-Mart
July 10, 2013Denton Area Teachers Credit Union101 Trophy Club DriveTrophy ClubTom Thumb
August 15, 2013Woodforest National Bank1035 Hickory Creek DriveHickory CreekWal-Mart

You know, the above FBI press release just doesn't have the same gritty impact as the old days.  I mean, c'mon, how worked up can we get with the disclosure that the suspect exited "through the main doors of the anchor store." I mean, like, what? -- he entered through the Whole Foods, passed through the Sunglass Hut, and then made his way into the bank -- and then retraced his steps, perhaps looking for a Cinnabon or Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Venti as he made off with the bag of loot?

Then there's the whole thing about that "Regular Joe Bandit" moniker.  Is that really the best the FBI could come up with?  What's next? The Plain Vanilla Vandal or the Bland Bank Burglar?

Finally, I can barely imagine Broderick Crawford in his patrol car taking note of this description of the Regular Joe Bandit:

casual appearance and composed demeanor. He wears glasses or sunglasses, long sleeves (hooded sweatshirt or casual button down), jeans, and tennis shoes. He also wears a baseball cap that appears solid in color or may have lettering or a logo that is the same color as the cap. 

Who the hell wrote that -- Abercrombie & Fitch?  Why not simply hire some copywriter from some fashion designer's studio to scriven the FBI's crime releases?  What's next, something like this:

Our bank-robber man-about-town is dressed to kill in our Regular Joe Bandit line of casual attire. For the active on-the-run lifestyle, we now offer the Composed Demeanor line from the House of Capone. Attractively priced eye-wear is color coordinated to match and fully accessorize the street smart ensemble. Fitted shirts (available with hoodie or button down for that business casual look) will glam you up for any mug shot.  A full line of jeans and fashionable footwear for your last minute escape. Top off today's bad boy look with our new line of head wear. Logos can be added for an additional charge. Whether you're planning on a one-time heist or something longer like a Madoff Ponzi, we have your getaway gear in all styles, gang colors, and prices. Available in sizes: 9mm, 44 magnum, and 50 caliber.