I Got Robbed at Work today

by Matt B

No, this is not some silly story about how I got shorted in my paycheck or how I had benefits taken away from me. If you read regularly, you know that I work at a bank. What you may not know is that I can fill any position in the branch, so if we are short help, that is where I am working. Today, like many recently, I was working as a teller. I got robbed.

This makes the third robbery since I started at this branch (Sept 2007).

I start work at 7:45 every morning, so this was a very long day. I had a post half-prepared about online calculators, but I guess that will have to wait a day, since I am exhausted and of course, I have to tell you about the events of the day.

Let me begin by saying, I am fine. Seriously, FINE. I can not stress this enough.

Here’s what went down. It was about quarter til’ 4, so I was getting ready to leave for the day. Honestly, I probably would not have taken the next customer (the robber) but he walked up anyway. There was only 1 other customer in the office, she was at the teller next to me. This is very unusual for my branch. So helping one more person would be no big deal, I greeted him and he put a deposit slip on the counter without saying a word. The counter deposit slip was up side down, so I pulled it toward me and before I could flip it over, I noticed writing on it. It read “give me all the money, no dye packs.” Immediately, I felt all of the blood rush out of my face. Then I looked up at the man, and was put at ease. I can not explain why, but apparently my subconscious did not see this man as a threat. I calmly gave him most of the money in my cash drawer and set it on the counter. I did my best to maintain eye contact with him during the entire transaction, noting facial features and his hat.

After placing the cash on the counter, he leafed through it and grumbled, “no dye pack”, I responded, “no”. He rounded up the cash and carried it out by hand. No bag or container of any type. As he walked away, I pulled the alarm and called for the teller supervisor. After calling her name the 3rd time, she responded. I let her know that the man at the door had just robbed us. At first she did not believe me (probably because I’m kind of a joker and I was very calm and collected about the situation).

The police took about ten minutes to show up. Since I have been through a few robberies, I know the routine. We blocked off the appropriate areas for the forensic team, shut everything down and locked everyone in the bank. Luckily, we only had one customer at the time, so this particular robbery was not too much of an inconvenience for customers. (Sometimes customers are stuck for more than an hour while the police gather statements).

I must have described the crusty, dirty old man 20 times in all. I had to give the same story to all of my co-workers, corporate security, law enforcement, and market executives. It was exhausting.

Most people that I have talked to have started the conversation wearing kid gloves. I guess that they fear that my psyche is damaged or that I am somehow sensitive to what they may say. They could not be more wrong, and I am not afraid to let them know it. I do not want to be babied and I am not fragile. This incident did not change my world view or make me look at anything differently. This is an everyday risk that I take and I realize that when I walk into work.

Unfortunate, yes. Life changing? No. I would be happy to answer any questions or discuss any specifics of the robbery with anyone. Leave me a comment or email me. Even though this criminal has not been captured as of yet, I am confident that I am safe and that he will, with time, face prosecution.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean March 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

wow that’s pretty intense, one question though. Why do they have you give you the description so many times when the must have video of him?

Heyagainlando March 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm

They actually had great video of him, but I had to describe him to 3 different officers, 2 people from corporate security, 2 market executives and a partridge in a pear tree. The partridge did not care at all. I guess they just want to make sure they have the best description of who they are looking for. Then again, maybe they are making sure I’m not changing my story…and I am not in cahoots.

Blalex March 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm

WOW, R U OKAY?!!!! Just kidding…but you know that you get the fun of sitting down with the psychologist that WILL talk to you as if you have emotional distress, which kinda sucks. The worst part of it all is this is very predicatable and unfortunately not surprising that this happenend. Not the fact that you were robbed, but the fact that a bank robbery took place in the economic vice grip we call an economy.

Heyagainlando March 26, 2009 at 6:13 am

If that crazy old bag psychologist comes in and tries to softly touch my shoulder, I’ll probably spit on her. Man that lady bothers me.

Solid4ever March 26, 2009 at 8:20 am

I’m thoroughly disgusted with the quality of today’s robbers….and the banks that have given them a free pass. Where’s the romance?!? In the old days, they busted in with shotguns and ski masks…blastin the chandalier and the cameras out. “GET ON THE FLOOR…OPEN THE SAFE” Now you just scribble on a deposit slip. How do they even qualify that as a “robbery”.

A bank gave away 2,000 dollars to a man who asked for it with a written permission slip today in florida….

I love ya man….glad you are safe

Miranda March 26, 2009 at 10:54 am

Glad you are safe. And good job with the robbery. When I worked as a cashier at a store, we went through training that basically had use do what you did — remain calm, hand over the money, then call security. It’s all about keeping people from getting hurt.

Tulsas May 14, 2009 at 4:03 am

Hello,

I just came across your site when doing a google search. My branch was robbed recently and I just wanted to see what others in the community(and bank employees really should have a community since there are so many groups out there against us)

I have to say great for you. You did exactly what he said to do. You avoided an escalated situation which could have occurred and really avoided any injury to anyone. You did an awesome job and I would be proud to work beside you.

That being said, please do not talk poorly about the counselors that came. I was not working the teller line(though in my six years of banking I have worked every position from Branch Manager to Teller and everywhere in between) With out situation, one of the tellers was severely effected by the incident. She/he would obviously not admit that it bothered them but I could see that it did. So even though I had to make talking with a counselor mandatory for everyone, I really believe it helped him/her most of all. Even if others feel they didn’t need it. Sometimes, some must be forced into taking the right medicine. Pride doesn’t matter when everyone has to.

Again, from your story, you did an amazing job. Just remember those counselors who come to talk to you, will talk on your terms and what you want to talk about. You do not have to spend any amount of time with them, but it is a great opportunity to let everything out with complete and total privacy.(whereas if your best friend is anything like mine, She will talk, repeat and eventually everyone will know, which, in banking, you know we’re not allowed to talk about that)

And in closing, I really must mention having started in banking as a part-time teller, it is completely ridiculous how much tellers, CSRs, Asst. Mgrs, and surprise, MGRs make with regards to the responsibility given. I started in banking at $6.50/hr as a part time teller when minimum wage was $5.50. The low pay follows up with the positions. This means in most banks, a MGR can be making the same as a teller who’s been there for 20 years.

mattb May 14, 2009 at 10:17 am

I was not speaking ill of counselors as a whole. Just the one that they send to our branch after incidents. She is an elderly woman who probably should have retired decades ago, and treats you like her toddler grandchild. Luckily, since I made it crystal clear that I had no intention of talking to her, she was not sent out this time.

I appreciate your kind words and look forward to providing a place for you (and everyone you know) to come and get advice and read stories for years to come.

-MattB

Red April 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

At least you were offered a counselor of some sort. I was never offered anythng after I was robbed (August 2010), and I am still suffering a bit of what I believe might be PTSD. It is egregious how some financial institutions treat their employees. After 13 years at the branch, I, like you, can an do fill all positions needed in my branch-and then some. What brought all this back was some member threatening to punch me today. I am really starting to think I need to make a switch to back office or something…

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