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From Money Heist to Aankhen, there have been a number of movies and shows that depicted what happens during bank robberies. While all of it might not be true, a former bank robber, Clay, shared his experience on this Reddit AMA!
1. Over the course of your entire career, how much money did you make?
“Not very much. Probably like five figures.”
2. What “rules” did you have about engagement during robberies?’
“No violence. Just walked in and acted as a regular customer. When it was my turn, I handed the teller a note saying to give me their $50s and $100s. I typically clarified that I didn’t have a weapon or any intention of hurting them.”
3. How did the other prisoners treat you when they heard that you were a bank robber?
“There’s a weird level of respect that the guys inside have for bank robbers. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way it is. They are fascinated with it just like anyone else.”
4. Aside from your freedom and robbing banks, what’s the one thing you missed the most about the outside, while you were in the prison?
5. Is there a bond between bank robbers in prison? Like do you guys swap stories and become friends because you’re in for the same thing?
“Oddly, yes. I imagine it’s no different than people who have played the same sport or can play the same musical instrument.”
6. What movie do you think is a realistic heist movie? From planning and execution to aftermath?
“I don’t think any of them are very realistic. Hollywood doesn’t really do realism too well. It’s like asking which porn is the most realistic. By default, the professional movies are all a bit fantasy. If I had to pick, I would say Office Space is probably the most realistic.”
7. What’s the biggest thing entertainment gets wrong about bank-robbing?
“The amount of money you get.”
8. What was the closest call for you, where you actually got away with whatever you were doing?
“Probably the last one. The lady/teller kind of freaked out and started screaming to lock the doors. It was a tad stressful to say the least, but I managed to just turn around and walk out as though nothing were happening. They did lock the doors, but it was just after I had walked out. I don’t think the intent was to trap me there, so it’s not like I “barely got away” in that sense. But, it was still way too close for comfort. That was the end of it for me.”
9. Now that you have been out of incarceration, what are you doing for a job? Does being a former convict and listed as a bank robber deter you from certain jobs?
“I worked the first job I could get after first getting out. I worked there (production-related work) for just over a year before getting a job in the oil and gas industry. I worked there for a few years and then got out because of an injury. There are definitely certain jobs I can’t do these days because of my past. For example, a bank teller is probably out of the question.”
10. Why did you opt for bank robbery over just a bunch of smaller, easier robberies?
“To me, the bank robberies were smaller, easier robberies.”
11. How did you get into bank robbing?
“Mostly, it was just a matter of curiosity.”
12. Does your child know what you did or are they too young to understand?
“My 12-year-old knows. We don’t really talk about it, but if he ever gets curious and starts asking questions, I will talk to him about it.”
13. What do you feel is the most important life lesson you have taken from all of your experiences?
“Self-awareness is crucial. Without it, I think life is a bit pointless.”
14. If you could go back in time and have another shot at robbing a bank, would you do it?
“I have a shot every day. I don’t need to go back in time.”