The Longform Guide to Bank Heists
The most prolific duo in history, the Texas woman who robbed banks dressed a pudgy cowboy, and the story that inspired Dog Day Afternon — a collection of our favorite stories about bank robberies.
The Trenchcoat Robbers
Ray Bowman and Billy Kirkpatrick, who began boosting together as teenagers, were arrested only twice during their prolific partnership. The first time was for stealing 38 records from a K-Mart in 1974. The second arrest came in 1997. In between, Bowman and Kirkpatrick robbed 27 banks, including the single biggest haul in United States history: $4,461,681 from the Seafirst Bank in suburban Tacoma.
The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob
Peggy Jo Tallas, a soft-spoken bachelorette, spent much of her adult life doing two things: taking care of her ailing mother and robbing bank after bank dressed as a pudgy, bearded cowboy.
The All-American Bank Heist
Anthony Curcio was the pride of his small town in Washington state. A former football star, he had married his high-school sweetheart and was making good money flipping houses. Then the real estate market crashed, and Curcio turned his obsessive attention to planning an ingenious heist involving Craigslist, an inner tube, and $400,000.
The robbers had a helicopter, explosives, and inside information on a $150 million cash repository. But the police were on to them—sort of.
The Boys in the Bank
A young man named John Wojtowicz, desperate to provide for his children and finance his lover’s sex-change surgery, attempts to rob a Chase branch in Brooklyn. The bank is surrounded almost immediately and a 14-hour standoff ensues. The story inspired Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.
The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist
In 2003, a man named Brian Wells robbed a bank in Erie, Pa., with a bomb around his neck. Shortly thereafter, with Wells surrounded by cops and claiming he’d been forced to commit the crime, the bomb detonated, leaving authorities to piece together who had put it there. Eight years later, they’re still not entirely sure who was behind this bizarre crime, or even the true motive.
The Rise and Fall of the Bombshell Bandit
How a 24-year-old nurse discovered Vegas, high-stakes gambling, and serial bank robbery.