This article originally appeared on VICE US.
How would you rob a bank? I know how I’d do it: I’d get a job at one, straight out of school. Fresh faced and keen to learn more, I’d slowly gain the trust of the other employees over a period of several years, eventually being promoted to a managerial position. Spritely, polite and hard-working, I’d gain a reputation as a decent but private man; the sort of colleague that you’d be more than happy to go for a drink with on a Friday, but you wouldn’t invite to your wedding. Once I’d gained the confidence of my contemporaries, I’d start volunteering for evening shifts. Then, one night whilst I was locking up, an accomplice of mine would storm in with a banana masquerading as a firearm concealed under a long trench coat. “ Gimme the fucking money!” they’d roar with all the zeal of a character played by Vinnie Jones. Acting horrified and aghast and all-consumed by terror, I’d assist the robber in loading up their getaway vehicle with cash, mostly 50s of course (we’re not messing about here).
After he or she had sped off into the night, I’d collapse, my shaking limbs folded onto the floor like the bellow of an accordion. After feigning a full-blown panic attack for the benefit of the CCTV, I’d patiently wait in a heap on the floor until my shocked and dismayed colleagues found me in the morning. After the whole charade was done I would obviously be too “traumatised” to ever work again, so I’d relocate and nestle myself away somewhere in South America. I’d don a number of extravagant disguises and assume a range of elaborate personas over the ensuing years, each one more elaborate than the last. Then I’d live out the rest of my days under the absurd pretence that I was just an eccentric Englishman who had found one of the world’s rarest stamps worth millions, allowing me to immediately retire. (Not that I’ve thought about this a lot or anything.)
So, that’s what I’d do. It’s a bit like the old, ‘What would you do if you won the lottery?’ query, isn’t it? A amusing question which everyone would probably answer slightly differently. So, in preparation for our eight-part TV series, How to Rob a Bank, which tells the first-person stories of everyday Americans who wound up becoming bank robbers (free box sets available now on All 4), we hit the streets to ask ordinary Londoners how they would rob a bank.
LUCY, 22, WORKS AT A RECORDING STUDIO AND JULIET, 22, A WAITRESS
Lucy: If I had to? I would get, like, you know Slowthai? He had that Boris mask. I would get one of them and wear it. That would be pretty terrifying. You have to scare them, right? But it would be a bit too traumatising for everyone if I used a gun though. And where would I get a gun from anyway? Would you be supplying everything I would need or would I have to find it all myself? I’d just go in dressed as Boris Johnson and demand the money. Once I’d gotten out of there I’d put the cash under my mattress, or just leave it in my house where nobody would suspect a thing. Over time I would slowly spend it, not splash loads of cash all the time though. Or, I guess I could, but around people who are really close to me. I’d live an undercover life; my family would think I was a broke intern but all the people I’m friends with would be like ‘wow, she flashes the cash’.
Juliet: Would I have to physically rob the bank? Because I would rather hack into the banking system. I’d befriend a load of hackers, spend however long it takes learning from them how to do it. We could all do it together then. I’d send the money to Switzerland, that’s were people send dodgy money, right? No, I don’t know; I’d spread it around.
GREG, "29 AND FEELING FINE, BABY", A MUSICIAN
JULIAN, DIDN'T GIVE AGE OR PROFESSION
It’s a funny question. Who are you working for? Okay. I don’t know, like, urm, it’s really funny because it’s the kind of question that everyone has thought because when we are short for money and are broke we think about what we can do and at some point everyone says, ‘Fucking hell, I would love to rob a bank. Are we gonna rob a bank?’ I’m not a gangster, but I have thought about that already. I don’t know, I would probably use technology. I think I would hack them basically. I think that would be the best way to go. A hacker is the guy who… [phone rings] Yo. Yes, I’m here.
GUINNESS "LIKE THE DRINK", 34, A RECEPTIONIST
I would go through the wall next door at night. I would put the money in a backpack and get it back through the wall. I think I’d get away with it. There is a place near where I work, Lloyds Bank, and next door is an office. I always pass by and think, ‘how easy would it be…’ Well, it wouldn’t be easy but… If I had to think about how to rob the bank I would hide in the next door offices and make a hole and I would break [into] the bank. Using my backpack, I’d take the money. Do you think that there is money in the bank, or is it just digital numbers? I wouldn’t become a multi-millionaire, but I’d have more money than I have at the moment.
I’d hack. I’d have to get good at hacking. But what would I do with the money? That’s an important point. I’d have to turn it into Bitcoin and not spend it quickly. I don’t think I’d get away with it to be honest.
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