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There is a lot of hard work into planning a professional bank robbery.

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The Bank Robbery In Queens

by Bobby Batsallota

The year was 1983 and a new dimension was about to be added to my criminal resume. I truly believe that every person who has walked the face of planet Earth has dreamed of robbing a bank. Maybe a few priests, rabbis and monks and nuns would be exempt from having that dream or those waking thoughts, but perhaps even they have imagined being like the great, late, infamous bank robber Willie Sutton, if only for a day. As everyone knows, Willie was once asked, “Why do you rob banks? He gave a very simple retort to that question. He said, “Cause that’s where the money is. Years before, during the heyday of his career, some honest citizen gave up Willie Sutton to the feds. One of the most feared men in the annals of organized crime was Albert The Lord High Executioner Anastasia, who was livid that, as he said, Some scumbag civilian gave Willie up. He went on to give the order, Hit the cocksucker. Willie was not only respected and liked by his criminal brethren, but also by the general public, who often look at societys misfits as a sort of Robin Hood. Willie Sutton was such a giant figure in the criminal world, as well as the real world.

In my career, I was literally involved in almost every facet of crime. However, I always wanted to rob a bank and an armored car. The bank I got to, the armored car I never got to it. All of my beloved scores were done with intricate detail. I left no stone unturned and had the patience of 42 saints and 62 angels when planning my scores. My number one priority was never to hurt anyone. Except for a few broken noses that I had no choice to administer, I adhered to that unwritten code of mine. I liked to consider myself a professional thief, not some goon or thug who hurt people unnecessarily, just because they feel like it or want to satisfy their innate need for violence. 99 out of 100 times the people you are robbing are just good hardworking people, doing their jobs to put bread on the tables of their loved ones. Why would I want to hurt them and for what reason? All I wanted was the cash and to let the biggest thieves in the world foot the bill for my ill-begotten gains and that was the insurance companies. A true pro thief will rarely, if ever, rob a family-owned business, large or small. The reasoning behind that is quite simple. People who own their own businesses are more apt to offer resistance to protect their domains and also very often have licenses for guns. So why do I need that aggravation and danger when I could rob a department store, chain jewelry store, bank or any of many numerous businesses where the managers and workers are told, If you’re robbed, just do what they tell you and give them whatever they want. Sometimes, I crossed that line, but whenever I robbed an owner of a business, I made 110% sure that I had the upper hand and was in absolute control As we all know most armed robberies are committed by thugs, street idiots who just run into a liquor store, convenience store or gas station and pull out a gun and demand cash and often end up shooting these poor, unarmed workers because they didn’t move fast enough or they couldn’t open the register or safe because of being scared shitless by these often very threatening, screaming half-wits who need $100 or $200 to buy crack. Easier to rob something where you can reap good money. The crimes are the same and the time you get is the same, whether you rob $1,000 or a million. They just don’t have the God-given brains to put together a good plan, involving no violence and one in which you make a good score. Prisons are full of young Blacks and Latinos who robbed someone of a pair of sneakers, a gold chain, a bomber jacket or a wallet with 3 dollars in it or worse yet, threw some poor 80 year old down a flight of stairs or punched them in the face for their pocketbook, which if they were lucky netted them a social security check just cashed; but more often than not got a few measly dollars. These are not thieves or criminals, they are fucking animals, who should be executed or hung upside down by their balls. We true criminals, of which there are very few dinosaurs left, abhor these mutts. I’ve often said and believe with all my heart that the true enemies of America are not Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc., but rather the young, Black American male. I’m not a member of the Clan or a racist, in the true sense of the word, and deeply respect the many fine, church-going, hard-working Blacks in America; but these Blacks themselves, who are the #1 targets of these animals, would readily agree with my politically incorrect statement. Now on to my bank robbery.

I had someone I knew very well who worked in the Reliance Savings Bank, located on Utopia Parkway in Whitestone Queens. What an appropriate name for a street, where I hoped to reach Utopia cash-wise by robbing a bank. This person told me it would be very easy to rob this joint; in fact, it would be akin to taking candy from a baby, if done properly. Intricate details were given to me about the inner workings of the bank, such as who the manager was, what time she arrived to open up, where she lived, where she parked her car, what time the time lock allowed the vault to open, how many tellers would be coming to work and what time they arrived, what time customers usually arrived to wait on line outside for the doors to open up and numerous other details, especially where the alarms were. So now I had what I needed as far as the inner workings went. Now I needed to decide when (what day, what time); how I was going to do the actual job; my getaway route, access to highways, how long to get far enough away and to my home base; if I needed anybody else; what car to use, legit or stolen or legit with changed plates; what disguises, if any, to war; the times radio sector cars made their rounds and where they were usually located (cops are creatures of habit); what type of weapon to use, if any; what type of clothes to wear, etc. As you can see, it is a difficult endeavor, providing you want to do it right. Anybody could walk into a bank, pass a note, show a gun, say they have a bomb, etc. But what are they getting? Usually one tellers window worth of money, maybe two. A lot of times that gets the dyed exploding planted cash and it literally explodes in their faces. Within minutes, when they leave, alarms are activated. Sometimes alarms are set off right when they are there and the dopey bastards don’t even know it. That is not the way to rob a bank. Willie Sutton would be looking up and shaking his head saying, What fucking idiots, they are a disgrace to my profession.

I wanted Willie looking up at me and saying, That a way kid, I’m proud of you. The first thing I decided was I’d need another guy. There were too many people for me to take and watch alone, especially because I was going for the vault. For a partner I chose a disgraced (thrown off the force) Newark, New Jersey Police Sargent named Joe Baird. He was on the balls of his ass, living in a motel, using cocaine and I thought he needed a break, but mainly I knew he would stand up if the shit hit the fan and he could handle himself physically if the need arose. Plus, I liked him. Also, being an ex-cop helped. He knew what to watch for and would spot any potential danger coming our way. At least, I thought all that about him. I would be proven wrong in certain areas, but when the chips were down, at the end, he redeemed himself with flying colors. Now came the boring, tedious work of sitting on the bank and learning everything I possibly could to help me. I sat on that bank for about 5 weeks, every day for opening and closing only. It wasn’t necessary to sit there all day, plus that would set off alarms in the neighborhood. But for about 45 minutes in the morning and the same time at night, we went unnoticed, always changing our location, cars, mode of dress, etc. The bank was open on Saturdays from 9 to 12 and I decided that was the time to strike. People were not going to work (thus no crowded streets). They slept late on Saturdays. This was a residential area. Only 1 block of stores and a gas station; across the street were surrounded by garden apartments and homes. The neighborhood radio car (109th Precinct), had a huge area to cover and rarely got near the bank, except for coffee and bagels every morning at 8:05 am, the start of their 8 to 4 shift. By 8:20, they were gone and didn’t work their way back to the area for another hour, by which time I would be long gone. Here is the exact plan I came up with.


Joe and I would get to the bank at 8:25 am sharp. We would park the car (a legit rental) around the corner from the bank. We both had on sharp business suits, with attache cases (to hopefully carry the cash away with). Joe would go to the phone booth, across from the bank (conveniently located on the side of the gas station, directly facing the bank). There, he could watch every move I made and once I got in, he would follow by a few minutes. The manager (a woman) arrived precisely at 8:35 and by herself she would go up the three front steps to the bank and open up. I, in my suit, glasses, dyed hair, with a small theatrical scar on my cheek (make-up), would be sitting on the steps or standing on the sidewalk, waiting for her. A white guy in his late 30s with an attache case and a good business suit on would raise absolutely no alarms with anyone, including the bank manager. I would then quickly move beside her, calmly speaking and utter these words to her, Do what you’re told and you won’t get hurt; I’m here to rob the bank, not hurt you.Ó I conveniently had a New York Daily News under one arm with the case in my other hand. I told her I had a gun, which in fact, I didn’t. I used my finger. I told her to be calm and open the doors and to step inside and deactivate the alarms once she entered. All this happened, except for one important detail. When we got to the bank, Officer Joe turned white as a fuckin sheet once he realized it was really going to happen. He told me, Kenny, you’re fuckin’ nuts, I can’t do this. Talk about timing. I didn’t give a flying fuck whether he came with me or not. I put too much time and effort into this score and I was going in by myself. I called him every fucking curse word I could think of and on the spot devised a new plan. I told him to sit in the car, motor running, with a cup of coffee in one hand and reading a newspaper (both bought in the luncheonette next to the bank) spread across the steering wheel, so as not to arouse suspicion with the neighbors. I told him to back the car up as close to the car behind him as he could (covering the plate # up) and to leave the trunk open a cunts hair so that when I came out with the cash, I could just throw it in the trunk and we would be on our way in a matter of a minute or so. I told him if he left me there, if it took me forever to find him, I’d cut him into a thousand pieces. I knew he was just afraid of doing the actual robbery, but I was confident he wouldn’t leave me there, holding a case full of money in one hand and my dick in the other hand. Something else I should tell you now the getaway route was the most perfect of any score I had ever been on. About 5 blocks away was the entrance to the Cross Island Parkway and less than a mile from there was the entrance to the Whitestone Bridge. I rehearsed and went over this escape route at least 25 times and knew even if we caught the one light on our escape route, within 4 minutes we would be on the bridge and in 2 more minutes would be in the Bronx, a totally different borough. Then in another 7 or 8 minutes or so I’d be sitting in my Skippers social club, counting the cash. So, if all went well, in less than 15 minutes we would be safe and totally off the streets shit ; by the time we were on the bridge, the cops wouldn’t even have gotten to the bank yet and when they and the feds all got there together, they would all have their thumbs up their asses and like Keystone Cops would have that look of wonderment on their collective faces, saying, Which way did those varmints go, looking in every which way.

Taking the manager went off without a hitch. To all the world, we looked like two bankers, going to work. Once inside, I kept talking calmly to her, putting her at ease. She shut the alarms off as instructed. It was 8:35 am. I now told her that as each of the 4 tellers arrived, we would let them in together, her telling them, This is Mr. Barker from the main office. I often used Mr. Barker on many of my scores, because I liked Bob Barker and the price was usually right on my scores. Humor often eases tension in situations that are not considered normal. The time lock on the vault was scheduled to open at 8:46 and the tellers (3 of them) always arrived before it opened, minutes after the manager. The last teller always arrived just before 9:00 am when the doors opened for business. I wanted to be in and out of there by 8:55, which gave me a window of about 9 minutes to empty that vault of all the large bills, leaving behind all the ones, fives and of course the big bank bags of change. We let the 3 tellers in together and they were not alarmed at all. As soon as we let them in and relocked the door until the next one came, I told them, not to worry and don’t do anything stupid and you won’t get hurt; you are about to be robbed. I had my finger in my pocket, telling them, Don’t force me to take out this gun because then I’ll have to shoot you all. They obeyed. They were young kids anyway, three girls in their early twenties and the guy the same. I herded them all into the back room near the vault, told them all to lay face down on the floor and when the vault opened, the manager and I went in and within minutes emptied the shelves of the large bills only and put them into my school bag style attache case (the ones that expanded). When that vault door opened, I think I actually got a hard-on and maybe even dropped a load in my drawers, such was the feeling of pure unadulterated ecstasy I felt when I stepped into that vault. I think I even said (to myself), All right Willie, I got this under control. I quickly pulled the phone wires out and put them in the bag too. Hopefully to buy me some more time, if even a few minutes. I told the manager to lie on the floor next to her tellers, took the keys to the front door from her (to let myself out and lock the door from the outside). Then, before I left, I told them all, ÒIf I were you guys I wouldn’t get up and try to go to the front of the bank (all glass picture windows you could see into from the street), because I have a partner out there with a shotgun who will start shooting in here if he sees any movement at all; so give me 5 minutes till you decide to move. Who knows if people obey those kind of orders, but I’m sure most people would lay right on that floor before moving. I know I would and I’m a street guy.

I calmly let myself out of the bank, locked the door and turned the corner walking at a brisk pace to my getaway car, which is at most a half a block away. Joe is there (thank God). I open the trunk, throw the very full, overstuffed school bag into the ajar trunk, get into the car and tell Joe, Let’s go; go at a normal speed, stop at the light if its red and get on the Parkway. Obey the speed limit and lets get the fuck home. It was raining lightly that morning when I went in the bank. When I came out, it was raining hard. Also when I came out, this last teller walked right past me and looked directly into my eyes. This teller had seen me before because his sister worked there and knew me. The sister was off on Saturdays. He later would help to identify me and he also became a New York City Transit Cop, about a year later. It hurt that he gave me up, because he was an Italian kid and had nothing to gain by giving me up and also putting his sister under a cloud of suspicion. But he was one of those good kids, a typical John Q. Citizen who just couldn’t mind his fucking business. Too bad Anastasia wasn’t still alive, maybe he would have whacked this fucking meddling meatball. Away from the bank we rode. We even caught the light on green, Willie was looking out for us. In less than 5 minutes we were in the middle of the Whitestone Bridge and heres where tension arose and we both thought it was curtains for us. Joe was shaking like a hula girl, scared shitless and I did all the work. He says to me, They got us, here comes flashing red lights and a siren at the bottom of the bridge, closing on us fast, what should I do? I pulled down my visor and looked in the mirror and sure as shit, there was lights flashing and the dim but growing louder sound of è a siren approaching us at a fast clip. I told the shithead, What do you think we should do? You’re the cop, you want to shoot it out with them (we had one 38 in the car and maybe get a kazillion years for murdering a cop or perhaps get killed ourselves)? We throw our fucking hands in the air and throw out a James Cagney line, All right copper, you got me, I guess the jig is up? As the lights and sirens got nearer, Joe was sweating his balls off; I was thinking, ÒI wonder if I’d live if I jumped off the fuckin bridge into the water and swam the 100 yards or so to the Bronx and went to a friend of mines house very nearby? A lot of things go through your mind in a matter of a minute or less. I kept watching through the mirror and my whole body went from being wound up like a super taut rope to being completely at ease when I saw the word ambulance written across the front of the oncoming van, not cop car. What a fuckin relief that was. I saw the ambulance before Joe did, who probably dropped a load of shit in his pants by now, because there was a foul odor in the car. I laughed and started singing, Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is Joe thought I lost it and went completely off my rocker when I told him, Its a fucking ambulance Dick Tracy; you should know the different sounds of their sirens better than me.

We got to the club which was never open in the morning, unless an all night crap or card game was still going on. As always, I told the Skipper of my score and hopefully what time we would arrive at the club and for him to be there. We got there about 9:15 and after a light horn toot, the Skipper who was already watching for us through the small peephole style window swing upon the door and said, You alright? Everything went okay? You need anything? The first thing we did was throw my school bag full of cash on the table and then before we opened it we changed into jeans and sweatshirts and sneakers and I went to the s ink and washed the dye out of my hair. Then we all sat down and opened it and started counting, which didn’t take long, because although we were told there would possibly be upwards of 500 grand in the vault, there was only $159,000. Not a bad score, but by no means a great one, especially after all the time I put in on it. At least I didn’t have to give Joe _ of the score, because he technically didn’t do shit, except be a getaway driver. I gave Joe 25 grand for his work. He was overjoyed and though he hit the Irish Sweepstakes. In reality, he probably didn’t expect shift from me, cause he backed out on me at the last minute and could have blown the whole score if I hadn’t decided to go ahead with it. I gave the Skipper 15 grand and gave him $5,000 for his wife to buy a Grand Prix she had her eye on. I gave 20 grand to the person who gave me the score. So I was left with about 90 grand for myself. I drove Joe back to Jersey later that night. We decided to stay in the club all day. The Skipper went out and got us heroes for lunch and veal parmigiana for dinner. His wife stopped by and gave me a big kiss and said, I love you babe, thanks for the car. If it was up to my husband, I drive that piece of shit Chevy Nova around till it blew up.

Here iswhere Joe came up strong. After dropping him off at his motel with efficiency apartments, I went to a nearby room where a goomarah I was seeing lived. I threw her a quick blast from the past, and told her Id pick her up the following Wednesday night and take her out for dinner in a classy joint, so dress up. I gave her a grand for her and her kid and left. By then, I had been identified as the bank robber by the teller who I knew, brother. This was unbeknownst to me. I thought I pulled the Òperfect score. Joe knew I was on the way to pick up my goomarah on that Wednesday night and the F.B.I. who suck at actual street work but are excellent paper chasers, knew from one of their informants that I frequented a certain restaurant in Jersey at least once a week (which I did) and also found out I was seeing this goomarah who lived in the motel efficiency apartment. So they literally surrounded the joint, waiting for me to pop up. Thank God they knew nothing about Joe participating in the robbery and, him being a cop, he knew something was rotten in Denmark with these agents sitting all over the place. He had nowhere to call me at, because he wasn’t in my inner circle of friends and didnt know where I even lived. So, an hour before I was to pick up my girl, he went and stationed himself in a small strip mall and hoped he would see me coming by. I stood out like a sore thumb if I was driving my Lincoln, but he didnt know if I would be driving it. I was. The feds had no idea where I was living. I had recently moved. My license had a bogus address on it. My car was registered to my brothers address. I didn’t use credit cards and thankfully they didnÕt get on to my Skippers club location, because their informant didn’t know about the club.

So I’m driving along and all of a sudden I think some looney bird is behind me. It was dark and the guy was flashing his brights and blowing his horn. I finally pulled over and saw it was Joe. He told me the motel was surrounded and to beat it out of there. I went on every back road in Jersey and got to a friends house 25 miles away. I put my car in his garage and took his car and went back to New York, where I was laying low and on the lam.

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