Glad I paid attention.


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woolfam
April 1, 2008, 03:01 PM
Seeing a news story today of a local bank robbery reminded me of a situation that happened to me several years ago.

One of my sons was the lead teller at a bank. I had commented to him that he needed to keep his eyes open at this particular location. It was a main branch, right off the highway - providing several quick get-away routes, the bank only occupied a part of the building so the bank entrance was off a common area that had 24-hour unmonitored access, and the windows between the parking lot and the common area were tinted prohibiting you from seeing inside.

The day after I received my CCW permit, I had to take him to work. He had to "open" that day. I dropped him off, and as I started to leave the parking lot, three gangster-looking young men drove into the parking area in a old, beat-up car. They pulled past me and around to the side of the building near the entrance, and stopped.

Now I firmly believe in God's control of the events in our lives, and here, my son was opening the bank, no one else was in the parking lot, three gangsters were stopped outside, it was my first day permitted to carry, and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.

I turned around and pulled in so I could see them. They were rummaging around in their car. They seemed to find what they were looking for and began to pull forward. They proceeded to drive up to the ATM, withdrew some money, and drove off, leaving me with a slightly elevated heart rate and an even greater appreciation for God's control.

Did my presence help avert a bad situation? I doubt it, but I'll never know this side of the grave. But I've read many times on this site of the importance of situational awareness and following your instincts.

Jumping out of my car into a shootout that prevented a robbery would have made for a more fascinating story. But I'm more than happy with what happened and what I learned, and I'm glad I paid attention that day.

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WayneConrad
April 1, 2008, 03:03 PM
Had it been a shootout, remember: There are more foot-pounds in a car then a gun. And more cover.

I like your final analysis, though. The shootout ends best that never happened.

czdavid
April 1, 2008, 03:16 PM
I remember this situation... You see, I'm woolfam's son -- the one who worked in the bank. I saw this news report this morning and was once again thankful that I was never robbed in my 3 1/2 years of banking. The robbery reported on took place only a couple blocks from where I worked. The area is by no means safe!

When dad told me about the what happened that morning (I was in the bank and couldn't see anything outside) I was definitely glad dad was still around. Opening the bank in the mornings tended to freak me out. I never knew who was in the building and I had heard many stories about robberies that took place when the bank was being opened. Knowing that dad was still out there--armed, but not dangerous--comforted me.

One thing I would've loved to see enacted was the arming of at least one teller in each branch. I can only imagine the deterrent this would be to any would-be robber. But, I guess the safety of employees isn't that important to banks these days.... I know it would be bad to have a shoot out in the lobby of a bank, but what if tellers were armed and potential robbers knew about it? Would we have to worry about bank robberies as much? I highly doubt it.

There have been times when, had I not been aware of my surroundings, things could've gotten ugly. Was that morning one of them? We shall never know. I most certainly had no idea about these guys. I will say this, I'm very glad my car was in the shop that morning and that dad had to drop me off. Had he not......

Sato Ord
April 1, 2008, 03:42 PM
Awareness of your surroundings is one of the things I stress the most in my self defense classes.

Why can two men, same general build and dressed alike, walk down the same street within minutes of each other and one get mugged while the other gets to walk unhindered to his car? Because the one who walked unhindered was aware of his surroundings and didn't have the look of someone who is easily victimized.

I once stopped at a store to let my wife run in and get a few items while I was going to wait in the parked car. I stopped her because I saw two men/older boys wearing long coats going into the store. She didn't notice them and asked why I wanted to leave the area. I said, read the street, we're in Florida in July and those two who just went inside are wearing long winter coats: what are they hiding under them?

This happened before cell phones were common and the only pay phone was next to the door of the store. We stayed in the parking lot (but moved to a safer distance) while the store was being robbed and were able to get a good description of their car and a partial plate number. The perps had both been carrying shotguns. I can only imagine what might have happened if my wife had walk inside and surprised those two while their weapons were drawn. Our descriptions of the robbers and their car helped the police track them down.

As far as you having no proof that those guys were looking to rob the bank, you also have no proof that they weren't. Your presence could have been the deciding factor that made them go looking for easier pickings.

Generally if a situation feels wrong, remove yourself from it. If you are in your car and feel that someone approaching on foot is hostile, either gun the gas and go, or at least lock your doors. A woman who attended one of my self defense classes told me that she had once been robbed at knife point because she was embarrassed to hit the door locks on her car in case the guy approaching wasn't hostile and could hear the locks click. She didn't want to make a suspicious character think she thought badly of him and she lost her purse for it: she was lucky, she could have lost a whole lot more.

Kudos to you for sticking by your son. Always keep that mindset that awareness is a key factor in survival in the jungle, whether that jungle be green or concrete.

Black Knight
April 1, 2008, 07:44 PM
Ah the old question private security can never answer definatively, "Were we so good that no one wanted to try us or was it that no one was interested in our client?". Who knows, just be glad it turned out for the best.

bogie
April 1, 2008, 09:02 PM
Just an aside here... Bank robbers don't necessarily look like "gangsters."

What do "gangsters" look like, anyway?

P5 Guy
April 1, 2008, 09:15 PM
Italian-Americans in pin stripe suits?

2nd 41
April 1, 2008, 10:32 PM
If you ever get help up. Comply as quickly & calmly as possible. It's happens fast..Happened to me in 1980. I think about everyday. Hope you never go through this.
I was unarmed at that time. If I had a gun I did have sufficient time to react. Glad it ended with a loss of property($$$)...that was replaceable. OH YEAH...bought my first gun that year S&W37

ralphie98
April 2, 2008, 02:00 AM
an older white gentleman wearing a fishing hat had a pretty good streak of bank robberies here in MN... gangsters aren't the only bad guys. Be suspiscious of everybody because they're all out to get you. ;)

foghornl
April 2, 2008, 01:03 PM
Everything turned out OK for you guys...but your presence could have been a factor...we will never know.

what do gangsters look like? Italian-Americans in pin stripe suits? Don't forget the wide-brimmed hats and violin cases bulging in the middle...

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