This bank robbing, it really tears me up inside

November 25, 2009

Maybe it was the guilt over taking, and not giving, this holiday season. Or some last-minute remorse knowing that once the score goes down, you’re in big trouble.

It was the most unique part of a Thousand Oaks bank robbery this week: witness reports that the thief-at-large began crying as he made his escape.

Now, I don’t recall Robert De Niro getting all misty eyed following the big bank heist in “Heat,” but that’s Hollywood, and this is Ventura County.

And this is a thief who doesn’t sound, from police reports, like he’s a hardened professional who’s done this sort of thing before. In fact, according to officials, when he made his demands for cash, the man said he was a former employee that the bank owed money to.

“Sympathy for the Burglar” would be the criminals’ rights-endorsed Stones reworking as a theme song for this robber, who understandably has fallen on hard times. Unemployed, broke, no opportunities, maybe even starving for Thanksgiving, we’ve all heard of people turning to acts of crime in times of sheer desperation.

The man’s tears symbolize that feeling we’ve all had at one point or another of hitting the bottom with no apparent way out. The sensitive criminal, so to speak.

But in the same vein, if you apply a song like “Breaking the Law” to the situation — that mighty, metallic justification of a life of crime against a world that’s turned its back on someone — it becomes clearer that this man is like any other criminal … using force and the threat of violence to steal and get their way.

That’s why we shouldn’t be swayed into feeling sorry for anyone who makes excuses for why they turn to a life of crime, whether they cry crocodile tears or not. Let’s hope this guy’s guilt at the scene leads him to turn himself in.

Luckily, nobody was hurt during the incident. But imagine the stress and fear bank patrons were forced to endure, thinking they could be taken hostage, hurt, or worse.

I wouldn’t want to imagine a simple checking account deposit during my lunch break turning fatal because some foolhardy thief blew me away for my trouble.

It’s something for anyone else thinking about robbing any banks to reflect on this Thanksgiving.

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