Attempted Bank Robbery Fails Due To Poor Handwriting

Good penmanship is not important in the modern world. I often go days on end without writing anything on paper. When the elementary school teachers of the world corrected our penmanship, though, they probably didn’t have what happened during a recent attempted bank robbery in Delaware in mind. Police say that the teller was unable to read the note chicken-scratched on a blank deposit slip, and gave it back to the man to rewrite. He left, threw the note in the trash, and was apprehended by state troopers.

Finally, a situation in 2011 where a typewriter would be useful.

Police: Messy handwriting foils bank robbery plot near New Castle [Delaware Online] (via ABC News – thanks, Fran!)


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  1. agent 47 says:

    So wait…if they couldn’t read it…then how did they know to arrest him? It could have said “I like your shirt” for all they knew.

    I can’t read the article though, so maybe it says there.

    • dolemite says:

      No, that article doesn’t mention how they figured out it was a robbery. He handed her the note, she handed it back, he threw it away, and later police arrested him…I guess since he left the window without a transaction completed, they called the cops?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Maybe the only time someone hands a teller a note at a bank is to rob it.

        • dolemite says:

          So that explains why I went to prison for giving her that love note…

        • Nick Wright says:

          I’d have assumed he was mute or otherwise unable to speak.

        • That's Special Agent, Sir Mr. Dr. Esq. the 1st to you. says:

          Actually, not so. I almost accidentally robbed a bank this way. Back in 1999 I was traveling to Russia, so in preparation of this I made several lists of things that I needed. One of them was a list of denominations of American Express Travelers checks. The list was for me. So I was in line at the bank when my best friend, who was in the Army stationed in Germany called. I was only able to speak to him 2x a year. So I was excited when he called. And when I got up to the teller, I was still talking to him and without thinking I handed her the note but it did specifically say American Express. When I saw the quiet look on her face and I told my friend I had to go. Then little to her relief I gave her the rest of my account info, because she was just too much in shock to deal with me after that. So her manager helped me.
          I still get a laugh out of that.

        • samonela says:

          Once a month, I had a note to my teller with the details for a bank check so that I can pay my rent.

          It asks specifically for a bank check (as opposed to cashier’s checks which are not free), has the name of my landlord, the amount requested, and asks that my name be referenced on the check. They have to type all of that stuff in so that they can print the check.

          All I have to do is give them my account number and then they follow the instructions on the note. Saves them the time of having to ask me the same thing every month and it saves me the time of having to answer. Plus, if my wife has to go get the rent one month instead of me, I just give her the note and she’s good to go. I’ve kept it in my wallet folded up for monthly usage for a good three years now.

          Another plus is that I (or my wife) don’t have to say the word “thirteen hundred” out loud where some unscrupulous character within ear shot might overhear and try to have an impromptu meeting with us in the parking lot thinking we might have cash.

          Long story short, I’ve never been arrested.

    • IGetsAnOpinion says:

      This was in my local newspaper. It said they had a handwriting expert look at the note and were able to make out some of what it said, including something about “dye packs”.

  2. comatose says:

    I don’t get it – if she couldn’t understand it the first time, and he never wrote it over, how did they know it was a robbery??

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      “I wish to report a burglary.”
      “I can’t hear you, sir.”
      “That’s a little bit too loud. Can you say it just a little less loud than that?”

  3. mauispiderweb says:

    Wish I coulda seen the look on his face when she handed it back to him.

  4. The Lone Gunman says:

    How did they know it was an attempted robbery if the clerk couldn’t read the note and the suspect trashed it and walked out?

    For all I can see from the write-up, he could just as easily be a non-English speaker who was stymied and simply decided to come back later with a translator to help him transact his business.

  5. Exceptional Vampire Does Not Sparkle says:

    “gvem oy moniez naow”?

  6. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Just because the teller couldn’t read it, doesn’t mean that the police who fished it out of the trash couldn’t…..

    • Bibliovore says:

      But, see, why would the police have been alerted to fish it out of the trash?

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Because that bank teller’s experience tells her when someone slips her a note, it’s a stickup. Better safe than sorry, they called the police.

        It’s very possible that police could’ve been called, picked up the note, saw that it said something like “I’m mute/no habla inglais/whatever” and said “meh – he just got frustrated, nothing to see here.”

        The fact that they went and picked him up clearly tells me the note was a lot more threatening than that.

  7. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    What are we coming to when all you need to rob a bank is a note?

    • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

      Probably stems from the company policies of “If someone tries to rob you, put your hands behind your head and hope he doesn’t kill you, and let him do whatever he wants”.

    • Gally says:

      People have been doing it for decades. Robbers hand a note to the teller, often having it say they have a bomb/gun/whatever.

      It’s really the polite way to do it. No itchy trigger fingers, and other customers dont even know it’s going on when it happens.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        It’s a good thing the Police and FBI have such a high success rate catching bank robbers. Otherwise the banks make it way too easy.

  8. PhelpsG says:

    To quote Woody Allen: “I have a gub.”

  9. Exceptional Vampire Does Not Sparkle says:

    This is when you resort to the old fashioned. You pull out a finger gun and start yelling “GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!”

  10. KingaBoBinga says:

    Will you let me rob the bank?

    Circle : Yes No

  11. Murph1908 says:

    My handwriting has been honed by years and years fo P&P RPGs. My character sheets are sharp.

  12. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    So what’s the deal with robbery notes anyway? It’s kind of like passing a note with “Do you like me? [ ] Yes [ ] No”, it can only lead to disappointment.

  13. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Sweet pen loaded with a sweet color. *lust*

  14. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    It’s pretty bad when you can’t even write a legible note to rob a bank. I’m glad the teller gave it back. Too bad she didn’t have a red sharpie to make corrections, or to put a grade on the top, like a big circled F.

  15. DragonThermo says:

    It was probably someone in the 99% who needed money from the 1%, but because he failed out of school and got hooked on drugs, he never learned job skills like penmanship.

    I’m not saying my handwriting is perfect — it’s close to chicken scratch — but if I were to rob a bank, I’m pretty sure the teller could read my writing.

    • dolemite says:

      I think you are part of the 99%, and so am I. Unless you are CEO of GM and you are taking a break from firing people to post on Consumerist.

  16. Blueskylaw says:

    Did the bank levy a failed transaction charge on his account?

  17. cybrczch says:

    Everyone is assuming they arrested him for attempted robbery because he was going to rob the bank. I think they arrested him for attempted robbery because he left the bank without paying the $3 “Human Interaction (Teller) Fee”.

  18. Opie says:

    This is just a remake of “Take the Money and Run.”
    Woody Allen (a bank robber), walks up to the teller and hands her a note that reads. “I have a gun. Give me all your cash.”
    The teller, however, is puzzled, because he reads “I have a gub.” “No, it’s gun”, Allen says.
    “Looks like ‘gub’ to me,” the teller says, then asks another teller to help him read the note, then another, and finally everyone is arguing over what the note means.
    Allen does not succeed in robbing the bank because he is the only one who defines the situation as a robbery.

  19. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Stay clam, I hab a gum!

    Oh, you have gum? Did you bring enough for everybody?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      OMG reminds me of our local Chinese takeout place – they had clams on the buffet, so they proudly announced they had “claims” on the sign out front. :)

  20. HogwartsProfessor says:

    LOL I saw this. What a goof.