The Storm of the Century

I believe it was 1992 or 1993 and it was either March or April. I was living in a condominium on Wrightville Beach, on a beautiful scenic island just a couple of miles east of Wilmington, North Carolina. My purpose for being there was nefarious: I had discovered a couple of easy looking banks that I thought I might rob during the summer months when tourists flock to the area to spend a lot of money.

I never expected to get caught up in a storm that would devastate the whole eastern part of the United States, dump a foot of snow, cause electrical outages to millions of homes, blow down signs and houses and trees, cause many deaths and strand me on the island without electricity, heat, and hot water for coffee or bathing. I didn’t even have a candle for several days. And the police set up a roadblock leading on and off the island and were checking the identity of everyone coming and going in order to prevent looting. And, although I always had a good set of ID, I never knew if it had blown up and I’d been made. So I couldn’t take a chance of trying to drive off the island until the roadblocks came down, which was two or three days and freezing nights.

I continued to live there until the end of June. I would drive daily about 60 miles to Myrtle Beach to look at a bank that received the weekend receipts every Monday, delivered by an armoured truck (every bank receives armoured truck deliveries; most put the money right in the vault where it’s more difficult and time-consuming for a bank robber to extract, but some don’t put it right in the vault, wanting to count it before they do – that’s where I come in!).

This bank in Myrtle Beach didn’t put it away. It was left with the Commercial Teller. I cased this bank for three or four months, walking in to conduct some business (four or five times) while the armed courier was delivering the deposit, and they never varied the procedure.

I stole a car and put it in a storage shed and let the heat wear off it for a couple of months. The money was coming from a large “Kroger” grocery store in the area, and I went to that store every weekend to watch what kind of business they were doing. A weekend in mid-June was idea, so on the Monday morning afte rI drove the hot car to a parking lot adjacent to the bank, waited for the delivery of the morning, and when the armoured truck made the delivery and drove away, I put on my mask, pulled on my gloves, and hopped, skipped and jumped into the back door of the bank, pointed a gun at the Commercial Teller and demanded that she put the money that was just delivered into my large bag. She complied and in less than a minute I exited with more than $100,000.

I had a getaway route that I’d gone over dozens of times, changed cars about four city blocks from the bank, got into my personal car, drove two blocks and etnered a four-story parking garage, got out of my car and got into the trunk where I stayed for about twenty hours. The next morning I drove to my storage shed and left all the bank-robbing paraphanalia (including the money), then drove to the airport an dflew to Columbia, South Carolina. I spent a week at the Holiday Inn, flew back exactly a week later, and drove back to Wrightsville Beach. The heat was off the bank robbery, there were no road blocks…and  I was a hundred thousand dollars richer.

P.S. I confessed to this robbery years later, making what I thought was a deal with an FBI agent to get an innocent man out of prison – but the agent didn’t keep his word. But that’s another story! I’ll tell you about it next time.

Paddy

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