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“She does not understand the concept of Roman numerals. She thought we just fought World War Eleven.”— Joan Rivers, on stupidity

Funny the things you remember. Years ago, in Lisbon, a 46-year-old man robbed a bank of about $1,200. He was armed with a tree branch. A medium-sized tree branch, to boot. He was beat up by bank customers before he could escape the, uh, ahem — branch.

I could swear, but I'll bet this guy's dead. America’s oldest bank robber, J.L. Hunter Roundtree, was sentenced to 12 years after his latest heist. Roundtree made off with $1,999 from a Texas bank. That was in 2003. He was caught about a half-hour later. The elder robber had started robbing banks at the tender age of 80 because he felt they had given him bad financial advice. Roundtree was 92. He will be 104 if he serves his full term.

I was at the gym once when, right across the street, in the tiny Valencia Promenade shopping center, a couple of alleged knuckleheads almost robbed the Bank of the West. The master criminals failed to do their homework because they picked a cash outlet that is downhill and about 28 seconds away from the sheriff’s headquarters.

Quick-thinking bank employees triggered a silent alarm before Los Banditos had time to pull the early-morning job. Both perps high-stepped it out of the bank, past their idling car and attempted to hide out across the street near my health club.

Both were quickly apprehended.

You know what struck me as odd? You’d think that being a criminal, you’d have the luxury of sleeping in mornings. Not so with bank robbers.

I did a little homework and was rather surprised to find that most bank robberies happen between 9 and 11. That’s like, in the morning? A little math and I’m guessing our two Los Angeles strong arm artists had to set the alarm for at least 7 (shower, shave, read the paper, load gun, get coffee and doughnuts, drive up to Santa Clarita) to rob our bank.

The most recent FBI statistics are from 2000 and they indicated that there were 7,546 bank stick-ups that year. That’s about 21 every day, more, actually, considering most banks are closed on Sundays.

In the bank robbers’ favor, they made off with a total value of  $78,011,622 (that averages out to more than 10 grand per heist). Most of that was in cash, but $3 million was in checks and $10,572 in food stamps. Interestingly, most robbers at least get a brief spending spree. Of the $78 million stolen, only $13 million was recovered.

(The FBI has a category noting that there were 642 robberies where no money was taken. That strikes me more like Performance Art as opposed to Robbery.)

Our bank robbers of last week both walked in, not even bothering to wear gorilla suits, Nixon masks or even the obligatory panty hose to mask their identity.

Of course, the dumbness of their criminal exploits pales in comparison to an attempted hold-up at a Canyon Country bank.

Several years ago, a very tall fellow who looked like he just might belong to a gang strolled up to a branch on Soledad Canyon. The most tall would-be perp was wearing a ski mask. He arrived a few minutes before opening and mightily shook the locked front door while employees inside watched.

Frustrated, he walked away.

Said employees called the cops.

The cops rushed over and found the behooded strongarm artist waiting a few feet away, sitting in a parked car around the corner with his get-away man. They were waiting for the bank to open.

One final stat on why it doesn’t pay to be a bank robber: In 2000, there were 23 deaths during bank robberies. Of that total, 19 of the dead were the bank robbers.

Pity it couldn’t be more.

Like, 7,546.

(SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times, America’s best humor, and, best serious columnist. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website, America’s Humorist — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/) — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved.

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