Brown Bag
Chris Burnett used a brown paper bag with a gun to rob a bank three times in a row. Image: Flickr / lara604 / CC-BY

Starting in 2008, the average number of bank robberies in the United States started to spike. At Manhattan’s Sovereign Bank, this spike hit home after one man robbed the bank three times in three days.

Chris Burnett’s robberies

Three times in three days this week, Chris Burnett robbed Sovereign Bank in the Financial District of Manhattan. At 9:19 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 26, Burnett walked into the bank with a note saying “put money in the bag, I have a gun” and walked away with $2,258. The next day at 10:54 a.m., Burnett did the same thing and walked away with $14,000. At 9 a.m. the next day, Burnett pulled the same move and netted $10,002.

Police catch Chris Burnett

After the second robbery, the employees at Sovereign Bank realized that they had a repeat offender, and placed security video pictures of Burnett on “Wanted” posters, in local newspapers, and with the local police. After the third robbery, two police officers recognized the man and chased him down.

No-engagement policy

Most banks have a policy of no engagement when they are robbed. This policy is intended to prevent harm to bank employees and customers. This policy of no-engagement is why Chris Burnett was able to walk out of the bank three times without being caught.

Most bank robbery money not recovered

Bank robberies can be difficult to solve. The FBI, which investigates and collates data on bank robberies, reports that in 2010 more than $43 million in cash and property was stolen during bank robberies. Only about $8 million was recovered, less than 19 percent. If Chris Burnett had not returned to the same bank to rob it in the same way three times in a row, he would have likely not been caught.

Sources

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-06-15-bankrobberies_N.htm
Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043295/Robber-Chris-Burnett-holds-Manhattan-bank-3-days-row.html
FBI Statistics: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/bank-crime-statistics-2011/bank-crime-statistics-2011-q1

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