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The Funny Side: Strange stories of Robbers and their Getaways

In 2008 was a case in Malaysia where robbers used a getaway car that was too small for all the money they had stolen

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Robbery (Representational Image), Pixabay

– by Nury Vittachi

Nov 18, 2016: I saw cops chasing a guy down the street the other day. My first thought was, “Man, those guys are going to get great scores on their fitness band.”

Police and robbers should agree to a 30-second window between any actual bank robbery and the ensuing chase to give time for both sides to turn their step-counters on. Robber: “Ready, chap?” Cops: “Wait. Just need to click this. Okay, let’s do this thing.”

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Two days later, a reader sent me a news item from Florida on a related subject. A young female bank robber had no getaway car — so persuaded her dad to drive her to and from the bank “for a job interview”. She robbed the bank and leapt back into the car, telling him that the cash she was holding was her salary in advance. The conversation must have been interesting: “Hi sweetheart, how’d the interview go?” “Fine thanks, Dad, now DRIVE GO GO GO GO GO.” (Bullets fly.)

This writer canvassed sources for other offbeat getaways and a colleague shared an odd one from Ecuador. A professional footballer was in the middle of a game last month when police arrived to arrest him for non-payment of alimony. He pretended to become injured (footballers spend most of their training hours practising this) and was transferred by stretcher to an ambulance while police watched helplessly from the other side of the field.

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But perhaps the most cost-effective getaway of recent times was a curious theft in India this summer. Bank security guards put a large cash payment in a tightly secured train carriage. Robbers sitting on the roof of the moving train cut a hole into the carriage, snatched the money, and then jumped off. They were a huge distance away when the robbery was discovered — and they hadn’t spent a cent on a getaway car.

Someone reading over my shoulder (GO AWAY) has just referred me to a case from Kent in 2008. The robbers had a regular getaway car, but used a driver who just didn’t have the right mindset for car chases. They were only about 250 metres from the place they’d raided when a traffic light turned red. The driver stopped the car and politely signalled right to show pursuers which way they were going. Police caught them within minutes.

Also in 2008 was a case in Malaysia where robbers used a getaway car that was too small for all the money they had stolen. And there was a 2012 case in Texas where a bank customer got so scared during an armed robbery that she ran outside and drove away in the first car she could find — which turned out to be the robbers’ getaway car.

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But going back to escaping on foot, a long run through the centre of any city will boost your score on Pokemon Go and provide good opportunities to distract police officers chasing you. Robber (glancing at smartphone screen): “Oh my goodness, there’s a legendary Articuno, a Pokemon which has never been caught.” Cop: “Where? I mean, stop, there!” (Cops slow down and pull out phones.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to take a taxi to work, waving my fitness band out of the window all the way. (IANS)

Next Story

North Korea Blames US of ‘Robbery’ for Seizing Cargo Ship, Demands Immediate Return

Trump insisted he would not ease sanctions until North Korea agrees to abandon its entire nuclear weapons program

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The North Korean cargo ship, Wise Honest, middle, was towed into the Port of Pago Pago, May 11, 2019, in Pago Pago, American Samoa. VOA

North Korea accused the United States of robbery Tuesday and demanded the immediate return of a cargo ship seized for allegedly violating international sanctions.

In a statement in the official Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s foreign ministry warned of unspecified “consequences” in response to the U.S. seizure of the vessel.

“The U.S. should carefully deliberate what consequences will follow in the current situation derived by their robbery and promptly return our ship,” the Tuesday statement read.

The KCNA statement claimed the seizure violates the 2018 agreement between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to improve bilateral relations.

The United States announced last week it had seized the Wise Honest, which was originally detained in April 2018 by Indonesian authorities.

The 17,000-ton vessel, North Korea’s second-largest cargo ship, had been used to export North Korean coal in violation of international sanctions, U.S. officials say. It is the first time that U.S. officials seized a North Korean vessel.

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Undated photo released by the U.S. Justice Dept. on May 9, 2019 shows the North Korean cargo ship ‘Wise Honest’. VOA

The move further strained ties between North Korea and the United States, which appear to be re-entering a period of hostility after a year of nuclear talks.

In recent weeks, North Korea has resumed testing ballistic missiles after refraining from such launches for a year-and-a-half.

U.S. officials have shrugged off the three short-range missile tests, saying the door remains open for talks with the North.

At their first summit in June 2018, Trump and Kim vowed to improve relations and to work “toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

The talks broke down when a second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in February failed to result in a deal.

At that summit, Kim offered to dismantle a key North Korean nuclear site in exchange for the United States easing sanctions that are hurting the North’s economy.

Trump insisted he would not ease sanctions until North Korea agrees to abandon its entire nuclear weapons program.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un meet during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Feb. 28, 2019. VOA

The seizure of the Wise Honest is part of what U.S. officials have described as a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the North.

Under a series of U.S. and United Nations sanctions, North Korea is prohibited from a broad range of economic activities, including exports of materials such as coal.

North Korea has evaded the sanctions, in part by using dozens of ships such as the Wise Honest to conduct ship-to-ship transfers of raw materials.

When it was detained in 2018, the Wise Honest was carrying about 25,500 tons of coal — a load valued at around $3 million at the time.

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U.S. officials believe North Korea uses the money from coal sales to fund its weapons program.

The ship arrived this week at the port of Pago Pago in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. (VOA)