Kidnapping a bank executive’s family and holding them until the executive brings the crooks money from the bank is a time-honored tradition in the Wild Wild West, as this 1987 newspaper article demonstrates. According to reader John Thomas, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Compliance with the Missouri Credit Union Association, crooks in Tennessee have used the gambit in an attempt to rob a credit union.
The CEO of the credit union apparently took longer than the crooks had anticipated. Growing nervous, they released the executive’s family and fled. If they’d been particularly vicious, I suppose that they could have harmed the family members, to send a message or simply out pure meanness, so there’s that to be thankful for. On the other hand, credit unions, generally being smaller in size on average than banks, would not seem to be the normal targets for these kinds of crooks, so that raises a concern as to whether or not this will become a trend for the credit union industry.
According to John, this may be a sign of bad times to come. From his email to me that accompanied a link to the article from the Credit Union Times:
Perhaps everything can be explained by the perps being, well, “stupider than usual.” Given the stunning lack of success of the criminal enterprise, we can assume planning wasn’t their area of expertise.
Nevertheless, people desperate enough to attempt kidnapping are desperate enough to try it again elsewhere and try it again, this time, with a rational plan. Eventually, somebody will get the formula right.
As the article regarding the Texas bank from 1987 indicates, somebody in the past has gotten it “right.” On the other hand, we also have the recent example of fake kidnappers strapping fake bomb vests to an assistant bank branch manager/fake kidnapping victim in an epic fail of a robbery. Thus, while somebody occasionally gets it “right,” it appears that they also frequently get it all wrong.
Nevertheless, being a branch manager or senior bank or credit union executive may now be legitimately considered a “high risk” occupation. Keep your eyes peeled, and never answer the door to a stranger unless you’ve got a Glock in your hand with a round chambered and the safety off.