He became known as D.B. Tuber.
His bank heist fooled the police with the sneaky ploy of a dozen men hired via Craigslist and a daylight escape in an inner tube.
It’s a weekly occurrence these days: the kooky bank robbery as seen on the local news. But every so often along comes a scheme of such ingenuity, such precision, that you can’t help but stop and appreciate the craftsmanship. This is the tale of the fallen football hero who came up with the (almost) perfect caper.
The ballsiest bank heist in recent memory started off without much fanfare at all.
It was a late September Tuesday, a much needed workday for the dozen guys huddled outside a strip mall in Monroe, Washington, a bedroom community some thirty miles northeast of Seattle. The men had all answered the same curious ad for employment, posted on Craigslist the week before. Its instructions were very specific: Applicants were told to gather in this exact spot, on a small patch of blacktop between the Jack in the Box and the Bank of America at 11 A.M. Not that any of the men thought much about the location. Like the rest of the country, Monroe was getting hammered by the recession, and these guys would meet anywhere if it meant nine days of work and $28.50 an hour.
The author of the postsomeone from the Clean Monroe Beautification Projectwent on: "All workers must purchase safety glasses or equivalent eye protection, ventilator mask, yellow safety vest, long sleeves and no shorts, along with proper foot protection." After applying, each man received an e-mail from the supervisor, telling him to show up wearing a blue shirt. "If a project manager is not there," it concluded, somewhat ominously, "do not leave."
As the men waited, one landscaper was already going hard at it. He’d been there since before the others arrived, killing weeds outside the Jack in the Box, and he continued working the lawn until exactly 11:05 A.M., when a Brinks armored truck rolled up to the Bank of America branch next door. As the messenger got out and started wheeling bags of cash to the bank, the landscaper stopped spritzing, tossed aside his pesticide sprayer, and sprinted toward the truck. He was only a few paces from the guard when he fired enough pepper spray to stun a 1,000-pound grizzly bear. As the guard clawed at his eyes in pain, his attacker simply grabbed the bags, heavy with cash, and sprinted into the nearby woods.
The whole job took about thirty seconds.
When the police arrived a few minutes later, they surveyed an entire parking lot filled with landscapers matching the thief’s description. "We just got scammed!" one shouted to detective Tim "Buzz" Buzzell. A sixteen-year veteran of the force with a lantern jaw and a linebacker’s build, Buzz was used to chasing down the occasional stolen four-wheeler. This Thomas Crown Affair shit was new to him. With K9s barking, he ran down behind the strip mall where the crook was last spotted. Along the gravel leading to the woods, he found a trail of discarded items: a blue cap, a long brown wig, a white particle mask, sunglasses. The path stopped at the edge of Woods Creek, a narrow stream less than two feet deep. Buzz stood on the bank, watching the water ripple quietly over the jagged rocks.
An hour of searching, with helicopters circling overhead, turned up nothing. Then one of Buzz’s patrol officers called him over to something floating in the water about 200 yards downstream. Buzz raced through the underbrush to where the creek flowed under the concrete pillars of a rusty and abandoned train trestle. Bobbing up against a fallen log was the crook’s apparent and bizarre means of escape: a black-and-yellow inner tube, decorated with a picture of a bee next to the word hornet. A few feet away, a blue shirt and a two-way radio had been tossed on the creek’s bank. Buzz and his partner, detective Barry Hatch, a former scuba instructor with formidable ears and a crew cut to show them off, stared blankly into the woods.
The bandit was gone, along with $400,000.
Read the rest: The All-American Bank Heist by David Kushner, written for GQ>>