The Bank Protection Act requires that all employees and officers be trained annually on proper procedures for robberies, larcenies and burglaries-illustrate and explain.


Most bank employees will never experience a bank robbery. But those who do will find it can be a very traumatic experience. Approximately 80 percent of bank robberies involve a lone robber who holds up a lone teller. The bank robber may hand the teller a note and may or may not display a weapon. The robber’s goal is to appear simply as a customer conducting a transaction. He doesn’t want to be noticed and counts on only one witness – the teller.

Take-over robberies have been increasing in the last few years and can be extremely dangerous. These robbers, who usually travel in groups, will enter the bank with guns drawn and be very intimidating, creating a volatile situation. The robbers may jump the teller counter and force tellers down to the floor.

The Bank Protection Act requires that all employees and officers be trained annually on proper procedures for robberies, larcenies and burglaries. Most financial institutions will train their tellers but fail to recognize the importance of training all employees and officers regarding their responsibilities under the protection act. Unfortunately, this lack of training has resulted in some very dangerous actions taken by employees.

Annual security training of employees will meet the requirements of the Bank Protection Act but annually is not enough. Bank Security Officers should constantly be reminding tellers of their proper procedures during a robbery throughout the year. This can be accomplished by sending out memos, distributing newspaper stories or security articles about robberies, which is a form of continuing education.

Stunning Bank Robberies around the world

Bank Robberies in USA:

Stanley Mark Rifkin:

Stanley Mark Rifkin (born in 1946) is a convicted criminal in the United States responsible for stealing $10.2 million dollars through wire transfer via telephone in the autumn of 1978. At the time, it was the largest bank robbery in U.S. history.

Security Pacific National Bank heist: Working for a company under contract to develop a backup system for the Security Pacific National Bank wire room, Rifkin learned of the transfer procedures used, and found that bank agents would frequently write down the daily transfer code. One day in mid-October 1978, he made his way into the transfer room, saw the code, memorized it and walked out. Using social engineering techniques, he then made a few phone calls and had $10.2 million dollars wired to the Irving Trust Company in New York for the credit of the Wozchod Handels Bank of Zurich in Switzerland, where he’d already set up an account. [1]

Having previously set up a diamond transaction, he picked up 43,200 carats (8.6 kg) in diamonds from a Russian agency, which he had purchased for USD 8.1 million. He flew back into the United States and began selling the diamonds, but a business associate that he was using tipped him off to the FBI. He was captured shortly after, just before midnight on November 5. [2]

1998 Bank of America robbery:

In 1998, struggling mobster Ralph Guarino, decided to rob the World Trade Center‘s Bank of America. He recruited a friend named Salvatore Calciano, who had worked at the World Trade Center (WTC) for 20 years.

Salvatore explained to Guarino that following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, there was camera surveillance of almost everywhere inside the World Trade Centers, inside garages and even in elevators. Also, all employees had to wear ID tags when operating within the building. This obviously posed a problem, after a conversation between Salvatore and Guarino, the persuasive Guarino cajoled Salvatore into handing over an ID badge only issued to trusted employees, such as himself.

Sal informed Guarino that at a specific time a Brinks van arrived to deliver money in U.S. and foreign currencies from the Bank of America’s many branches and was sent, by elevator, to the 11th floor of the first tower of the WTC. Guarino realised the potential this robbery had, financially. Guarino and his brothers had been in and out of prisons for petty thefts, and truck hijacking.

Planning: The plan was based on the fact that, at 8.30 a.m., a Brinks truck would arrive in the WTC garage and guards would place the bags of money onto a stainless-steel rolling cart. Anywhere from eight to ten bags would be delivered, but that was fairly irrelevant because a single one of the bags would be enough to satisfy Guarino and Salvatore’s monetary needs.

Guarino decided that only two of the three robbers would need guns because the employees taking the rolling cart to the 11th floor wouldn’t be carrying guns. All three robbers would need fake IDs, two guns and some duffel bags, as well as the standard ski-masks.

The plan was that the men would wait for the elevator to arrive at around 8.30 a.m. and then put on their ski-masks and get into the elevator before anyone could leave, then brandish their guns and get the bags of money loaded into their duffel bags, tie up the staff and use the elevator to reach the top floor and then walk out, holding their heads away from the numerous cameras.

Guarino  picked three convicted criminals  Gillette  folk and reed for this job.  The reason Guarino picked such undesirables was that he could encourage them to believe that if ever they informed on him or anyone else, or failed, they could be murdered by the Mafia. Guarino was persuasive and they truly believed that he was a high-ranking mobster.

Heist: On Wednesday 14 January 1998 a Brinks van pulled into the WTC garage, two employees stayed in the van, while the others unloaded the bags of money. It was in U.S., Italian, Japanese and French currency. The two guards were, however, carrying guns and were joined by some cleaners as they went up in the elevator to the 11th floor.

Simultaneously the three thieves were entering the WTC in winter wear, but only one had the presence of mind to wear a hooded top, to conceal his identity to the many cameras. The other two, were in attire from which they could easily be identified. Each of the men carried a duffel bag, as the plan included two handguns one contained handcuffs.

The three men entered a passenger elevator; they got off at 8.28 a.m. and then pulled on their ski masks. Precisely 1 minute later the elevator, containing the money, arrived on the 11th floor. The two guards began to push out the cart containing money when they looked up and saw two men carrying guns. A cleaner began praying and screaming, Gillette handcuffed the employees. As Gillette was keeping the employees under control Folk and Reed produced some box-cutters and slashed away at the bags containing money.

After 8 minutes in the elevator they pressed the button to ascend to the 22nd floor, leaving the shocked victims tied up. They removed their ski masks and put away their guns.

At around 8.45 a.m. the three thieves left through the WTC’s revolving doors, Guarino watched from a car parked across the street.[3]

Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery:

The Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery was the $17.3 million cash robbery of the Charlotte, North Carolina, regional office vault of Loomis Fargo & Company on the evening of October 4, 1997, by armored car driver and vault supervisor David Scott Ghantt. An FBI criminal investigation (which became international in scope) ultimately resulted in the arrest and conviction of eight people directly involved in the heist, as well as 16 others who had indirectly helped them, and the recovery of approximately 95% of the stolen money.

Planning:  Ghantt had struck up a relationship with a fellow Loomis Fargo employee, Kelly Campbell; they continued to maintain contact even after Campbell left the company. In August 1997, Campbell informed Ghantt about an old high school friend of hers named Steve Chambers, who could assist Ghantt to execute a massive cash robbery of the Loomis Fargo vault in one night.

The plan was for Ghantt to commit the actual robbery and then quickly leave the country for Mexico – but to leave the bulk of the cash with Chambers. Chambers would then occasionally wire Ghantt money and see to his basic financial needs; when “the heat was off,” Ghantt was to re-enter the U.S. and the money would be split up among all of the co-conspirators.

Chambers had no intention of wiring any money to Ghantt and intended to have him killed to keep him from implicating the others. Chambers had told Campbell to do whatever she needed to do to get Ghantt to commit the robbery. Campbell led Ghantt to think she loved him and they would flee to Mexico together, but she actually wanted to make a better life for herself in the U.S.[4]

Heist:  With the plan in place, Ghantt sent a newly hired employee he had been assigned to train home early (reportedly, at 6 p.m.) and then proceeded to load a little more than $17.3 million in cash (approximately $11 million of which was in $20 bills) into the back of a company van. Outside of the building, Ghantt met up with Campbell, Chambers, and others who were involved in the plot, and drove off to a printing business called Reynolds & Reynolds in northwest Charlotte. From there, the money was moved from the armored car to private vehicles. Then, keeping with the plan, Ghantt took $50,000 (the maximum that could be taken across the border by law without further authorization) with him and left for Mexico, winding up at the popular Yucatan Peninsula resort of Cozumel.[5]

 Bank Robberies in UK  :

Graff Diamonds robbery:

The Graff Diamonds robbery took place on 6 August 2009 when two men posing as customers entered the premises of Graff Diamonds in New Bond Street, London and stole jewellery worth nearly £40 million (US$65 million). It was believed to be the largest ever gems heist in Britain at the time, and the second largest British robbery after the £53 million raid on a Securitas depot in Kent in 2006. The thieves’ haul totalled 43 items of jewellery, consisting of rings, bracelets, necklaces and wristwatches. One necklace alone has been reported as being worth more than £3.5m  Britain’s previous largest jewellery robbery also took place at Graff’s, in 2003. As of August, 2010 none of the stolen jewels have been recovered.[6]

The robbery :  The robbers used the services of a professional make-up artist to alter their hair by using wigs, their skin tones and their features using latex prosthetics. The artist took four hours to apply the disguises, having been told that it was for a music video. Viewing the results in a mirror, Aman Kassaye commented: “My own mother wouldn’t recognise me now,” to which his accomplice is reported to have laughed and replied: “That’s got to be a good thing, hasn’t it?” The same make-up studio had unwittingly helped disguise members of the gang that robbed the Securitas depot in 2006. [7]

August 6, 2009 at 4.40pm, two sharply dressed men arrived at the Graff Diamonds jewelry store by taxi and once inside produced two handguns which they used to threaten staff. They made no attempt to conceal their faces from the premises’ CCTV cameras due to their elaborate disguises. Even though one of the robbers was wearing leather gloves in August, store security allowed him entry, being used to the eccentric behavior of some super-wealthy clients.[8]

Petra Ehnar, a shop assistant was forced at gunpoint to empty the store’s display cabinets. A total of 43 rings, bracelets, necklaces and watches were taken. She was briefly held hostage at gunpoint and was forced into the street during the getaway. She testified that the robbers told her that she would be killed if she did not carry out their demands. After releasing the hostage outside the store, one of the robbers fired a shot into the air to create confusion, and both escaped the scene in a blue BMW vehicle. This vehicle was abandoned in nearby Dover Street, where a second gunshot was fired into the ground while the robbers switched to a second vehicle, a silver Mercedes. They again switched vehicles in Farm Street, after which there was no further information regarding their whereabouts.

All of the diamonds had been laser-inscribed with the Graff logo and a Gemological Institute of America identification number. [9]

Detectives investigating the robbery stated: “They knew exactly what they were looking for and we suspect they already had a market for the jewels.” The suspects’ details were circulated to all ports and airports but police believed they would have an elaborately prepared escape route and had already left the country.

Bank Robberies in Ireland:

Northern Bank robbery:

The Northern Bank robbery was a large robbery of cash from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Carried out by a large, proficient group on 20 December 2004, the gang seized the equivalent of £26.5 million in pounds sterling and small amounts of other currencies, largely euros and U.S. dollars. This made it the largest bank robbery in UK and Irish history. Although the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the British and Irish governments claimed the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was responsible (or had permitted others to undertake the raid), this is denied by the Provisional IRA and the political party Sinn Féin. Although one person has been convicted of money laundering, the investigation is still ongoing and the case remains unsolved.[10]


On the night of Sunday 19 December 2004 groups of armed men arrived at the homes of two officials of the Northern Bank, one in Downpatrick in County Down, the other in Poleglass near Belfast. Masquerading as PSNI officers, they entered the homes and held the officials and their families at gunpoint. Bank official Chris Ward was taken from Poleglass to Downpatrick, the home of his supervisor Kevin McMullan, while gunmen remained at his home with his family. Subsequently Mr McMullan’s wife was taken from their home and held, also at gunpoint, at an unknown location. The following day both officials were instructed to report for work at the bank’s headquarters at Belfast’s Donegall Square West as normal.[11]

At lunch time on Monday 20 December 2004, bank official Chris Ward removed a sum of money thought to be around £1 million pounds and placed it in a sports holdall. He walked out of the banks’ Wellington Street staff entrance with the holdall and made his way to a bus stop in Queen Street, Belfast where he met up with one of the robbers. This action was later released as a closed circuit video presentation. After handing over the sports holdall with the stolen money, Ward returned to his work location. This was regarded as a test run for the main robbery later in the evening.

McMullan and Ward remained at work after the close of business, and later in the evening they gave entry to other members of the gang. The robbers entered the bank via the Wellington Street staff entrance and made their way to the bank’s cash handling and storage facility. This held an unusually large amount of cash in preparation for distribution to automated teller machines for the busy Christmas shopping season. Cash was transferred to one or several vehicles (possibly including a white “Luton” van) parked outside in Wellington Street. The gang then fled. Shortly before midnight the gang holding the Ward family left, and those holding Mrs McMullan released her in a forest near Ballynahinch.[12]

The haul included £10m of uncirculated Northern Bank sterling banknotes, £5.5m of used Northern Bank sterling notes, £4.5m of circulated sterling notes issued by other banks, and small amounts of other currencies, largely euros and U.S. Dollars.

Interviewed after the raid, several experts said that taking the Northern Bank notes was foolish, as, apart from some tourist destinations, they are often refused outside of Northern Ireland and Scotland, and that anyone attempting to pass them in Northern Ireland would quickly arouse suspicion. Following the raid, Northern Bank announced that it would recall all £300 million worth of its banknotes in denominations of £10 or more, and reissue them in different colors with a new logo and new serial numbers. The first of these new notes entered circulation on 11 March 2005.[13]

Bank Robbery in India:

Chelembra bank robbery:

Chelambra bank robbery in the Malappuram district of Kerala, India is considered to be one of the biggest and most sensational bank robberies in the crime history of Kerala. In the early hours of 30 December 2007, the robbers made a hole in the floor of the South Malabar Gramin Bank and got away with 80 kilograms of gold and 2,500,000 rupees, a total value of 80 million Indian Rupees. [14]

Robbery : The bank was in the second floor of a building. The ground floor had a restaurant that was up for rent. The four-member gang rented the restaurant by giving an advance payment of about Rs. 50,000. They shut down the front door and placed a board saying that it was under renovation and would reopen on 8 January 2008. To make things more convincing, they even bought new furniture for the restaurant and much construction material for the site.

Those who were watching the scene would have thought that repairs were going on. But they were cracking the first floor open, where the strong room was kept. They cracked it and made a big enough hole in the ceiling to the strong room. All the money they took was from some iron safes in the strong room which they cut open using a gas cutting machine. They took away gold and cash kept inside the safe. [15]

Crime inspired by Dhoom :The leader confessed that the crime was inspired by the Bollywood movie Dhoom. In the movie also, the robbers made a hole in the ground floor of the bank and got away with the valuables during the new-year event. [16]

Bank Robbery in China:

Agricultural Bank of China robbery:

 The Agricultural Bank of China robbery was the embezzlement of nearly 51 million yuan (c.US$6.7 million) from the Handan branch of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) in Hebei province between March 16 and April 14, 2007. Perpetrated by two vault managers employed at the branch, it is the largest bank robbery in China‘s history. [17]

The idea for the heist had begun when one of the managers, Ren Xiaofeng, stole 200,000 yuan (c.US$26,000) in October 2006 with the complicity of two security guards, Zhao Xuenan and Zhang Qiang. Ren then purchased tickets for the Chinese lottery, with the intention of winning a sufficiently large prize that he could return the missing funds before their absence was noted, and still have money left over for himself. Despite the unfavourable odds Ren was successful, and he was able to return the 200,000 to the vault.

Emboldened by his initial success, Ren joined forces with another manager, Ma Xiangjing, to perpetrate the same crime on a far larger scale. During March and April 2007, the two stole 32.96 million yuan, and spent almost the entire amount—31.25 million—on lottery tickets. This time good fortune was not on their side. In desperation, they stole six cash boxes containing a further 18 million yuan on April 14, spending 14 million in a single day in an effort to heir losses. Despite Handan reporting record lottery ticket sales, the two recouped only 98,000 yuan. [18]

Learning points for Bangladesh form the stunning bank robberies:

On the basis of different cases and reports on stunning bank robberies that occurred in different parts of the world. The case studies refer that the robberies were handled by tellers and employees in the proper manner but from time to time an employee would either not comply with the robber’s demands or would do something that escalated the level of danger and exposed both employees and customers to increased danger. Even bank authorities have their own roles to play by deploying different strategies and tactics.

Recommendation for employees:  The following list of ten catastrophic mistakes committed by bank employees is based on those reports:

  1. Do not treat the hold up note as a joke or a prank.
    There have been several instances in which a teller has been handed a hold up note and believes the customer is joking. If the teller does not believe the note is serious, the robber may feel forced to display a weapon, escalating the likelihood of harm.
  2. Do not create any surprises for the robber.
    In some cases tellers have walked away from their teller station if they don’t observe a weapon. Others have been advised to pretend to faint. These actions may be successful in thwarting the bank robber, who may simply run out of the bank. But if the robber is really desperate, the teller’s actions may cause the robber to display a weapon and possibly grab a customer in the lobby. Do exactly what the robber tells you to do.
  3. Do not carry excess cash in your cash drawer.
    Bank robbers will come back if they’re given large amounts of cash. Tellers should adhere to their bank’s cash limits for both top drawer and teller station. If a teller accepts a large cash deposit, excess cash should be transferred to the head teller immediately.
  4. Do not offer to rob the bank for the robber.
    Only give to the robber the money demanded. Don’t ask if the robber wants the cash in your second drawer.
  5. Do not attempt to bring attention to the robbery.
    Statistically bank employees who follow the bank robber’s instructions are seldom injured in the course of a robbery. Handle the bank robber as you would a regular customer. Don’t attempt to gain the attention of anyone else to alert them to what is going on. The most important role you have in this robbery is to ensure the safety of all employees and customers in the bank. Bringing attention to the robber could compromise the safety of all.
  6. Do not argue with the robber or attempt to talk him/her out of the robbery.
    Arguing, confronting or attempting to talk the robber out of the crime will increase the likelihood that others will become aware a robbery is in progress and escalate the level of danger.
  7. Do not tell customers that you have just been robbed.
    After one robbery, just as the robber reached the front door, the teller yelled out “grab him, he just robbed me.” This was an extremely dangerous action that places the safety of employees and customers in danger. What if a customer did attempt to grab the robber and a struggle took place in which a weapon was used and either a customer or employee was injured or killed? On occasion customers, believing they are acting as good Samaritans, have confronted or chased robbers and increased the likelihood of danger to themselves and others.
  8. Do not ever leave the bank after a robbery.
    In numerous cases we found that after the bank robber left the branch, a bank employee will either exit the bank to see if they can observe the robber’s getaway or – worse – actually pursue the bank robber in a chase. This type of action not only places the employee in danger but also poses a threat to others. If during such a chase or attempt to observe a robber that someone is injured, the bank will have potential liability in a possible civil action. This is an especially important message for non-retail employees who may not have been trained properly. Let the police chase the robber.
  9. In a take-over robbery, do not make sudden movements.
    Do not attempt to activate hold up alarms, run out of the bank, or attempt to call the police. Take-over robberies are extremely dangerous because the robbers are most likely displaying weapons. If you are on the telephone when a take-over robbery occurs hang the telephone up and do not answer any in-coming calls unless the robbers tell you to. Attempting to activate an alarm can also be very dangerous if the robbers observe you during your attempt. Do not try to escape the robbery, as robbers will be closely watching for this activity.
  10. Do not ever attempt to engage the robber(s) in a struggle.
    Although most of us would never imagine engaging a robber in a physical confrontation, there have been cases in which bank security guards, branch managers and other employees have physically confronted bank robbers. Remember this type of response to a robber increases the level of danger to all employees and customers in the bank.

Recommendation for Bank Authorities:   New York Bankers Association adopted a 15-point list of “Best Practices” to help deter bank robberies and aid in the apprehension of bank bandits. Review the list to determine what you could change or improve within your institution.

  • Closed Circuit Television Systems (CCTV): High quality digital equipment to capture faces of persons transacting business at teller stations and other key locations, such as entrances and exits. Cameras should be positioned to ensure a full frontal photograph is obtained of perpetrators. Use digital recording systems capable of easy viewing and retrieval of high quality images (i.e., a sufficient number of pixels for improved zoom capabilities), and of transferring the images to a portable form of media such as CD-R or DVD with a minimum amount of technical knowledge. Video surveillance systems of the bank floor/teller areas and ATM area should be aligned properly.

    Those banks or branches which do not yet have digital equipment installed should have CCTV analog equipment and/or 35 millimeter cameras in sufficient quantities and of sufficient quality to accomplish the identification and coverage goals described above. When installing replacement or additional equipment, banks should install high quality digital equipment. Once digital equipment is installed, banks should additionally consider the use of 35 millimeter cameras, to allow bank personnel to capture images of robberies in progress.

  • Lighting/Cameras: Cameras or interior lighting positioned so lighting does not interfere with processing images of perpetrators captured on security video, or in the development of 35 mm film.
  • Bullet-resistant bandit barriers: Bandit barriers to protect bank personnel from direct threats and provide a higher degree of security and deterrence. Where banks have instituted a cashless environment, alternatives to bandit barriers may be in order.
  • Employees to greet customers: Security guards, customer service representatives or greeters to engage customers by greeting them as they enter the branch, should be utilized at a minimum on a floating basis to provide a plain view security presence, not necessarily at predictable times. This practice has been found to be an effective tool in deterring robberies.
  • Dye packs/serialized currency: Dye packs and serialized currency are strongly recommended as potential aids in prevention, apprehension and prosecution efforts.
  • Height markers: Height markers at doorways to help establish perpetrator’s height.
  • Direct telephone numbers: Bank branch direct telephone numbers provided to the Major Case Squad and Joint Bank Robbery Task Force to enhance their ability to obtain information expeditiously in the event of a robbery.
  • Employee training: Employees trained to trigger alarms and security cameras, as soon as reasonably possible to both protect the safety of customers and employees and facilitate apprehension of the robber. Employees should also be trained to call 911 as soon as reasonably possible to provide detailed description of perpetrator and direction of flight.
  • Employee instructions: Employees instructed to limit amount of currency surrendered, to cover dye packs if utilized, with $50 and $100 denominations, to retain demand note when possible, and to minimize contamination of evidence and crime scene. The use of bait or decoy money should also be considered as potential aids in prevention, apprehension and prosecution efforts.
  • Unobstructed views: Employees’ views of teller area should be unobstructed.
  • Signage: In addition to the signage required by the ATM Safety Act, additional signage regarding bank security, (for example signage placed conspicuously, indicating the presence of surveillance equipment and/or FBI signage) should be utilized.
  • Alarm systems: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards for Central Station Extent #2 to include hold-up alarm buttons at each teller’s workstation as well as other key points throughout the bank.
  • Safes/vaults: UL listed classifications for burglary resistant containers. Vaults/safes rated for tool and torch resistance level based on amount of currency held.
  • Enhancement of A.P.P.L. Email alert system: Bank supported enhancements to current A.P.P.L. e-mail alert system to include cross institutional/police video communication (including bank-to-police car video communication), to disseminate immediate notifications of bank robberies or attempted robberies and suspect information. This could prove successful in apprehending suspects who, when rebuffed at one location, target another bank until successful.
[1] .  See “The Ultimate Heist”. Time. 1978-11-20.,9171,948323-1,00.html.

2 .   See Kevin Mitnick (2002). The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security. ISBN 0471237124.

[3] .   See the Smith, Greg B. (2003). Made Men: The True Rise-and-Fall Story of a New Jersey Mob Family. Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-18551-6.

5.  ^ ^ “Wells Fargo and Loomis forming armored car company”, The New York Times, July 16, 1996.

[6] . see the  Kevin Myers (26 December 2004). “The price of peace? £22m in cash”. London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-03-11.

11.see the  BBC. 7 January 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-11.  Fraser Nelson (3 February 2005). “Crisis as IRA vows to keep weapons”. The Scotsman. Retrieved 2007-03-11.

16.see the Robbers buy lottery tickets worth millions”, The Independent Online, July 25, 2007

        17. see the Chinese bankers in lottery loss”, Chris Xia, BBC News, August 9, 2007

18.seethe Bank thieves sentenced to death for inside job”, Gu Jia, Shanghai Daily, August 9, 2007