Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bad year for bank robbers

It started with this one, cleared in record time: 6 minutes. Then on Friday, this pair made the bad mistake of (allegedly) robbing People's Choice Credit Union, formerly known as the City-County Employee's Credit Union. Then Monday, visitors from the Northeast came to Lincoln, and ended up staying in our local graybar hotel.

Great work by Lancaster County Deputy Sheriff Kirk Price, who dropped what he was doing serving civil process, headed for the highway to give the hairy eyeball to passers-by, and spotted the suspects trying to be inconspicuously evasive. Not the first time that's happened: Sheriff's Captain Gary Juilfs spotted the suspects in similar circumstances (and not very far away) back in March, 2000 . The Nebraska State Patrol's helicopter also came in very handy, as the last of the three suspects ran into a rather isolated and desolate area of the county. There's a certain comfort in having that baby hovering overhead as you take a bank robber into custody.

If you were going to pick a place for your suspect to run into a field, you couldn't do much better than this flat, treeless triangle of land bounded by Highway 6, Interstate 80, and the Warner Wetlands.

Wait a minute. Yes, come to think of it, you could do better.

Financial institution robberies are a very bad thing. The risk is great, and although three is a very low number, it is three too many. The good news is that the clearance rate this year is 100% and the average time between the robbery and the arrest is about an hour.


Anonymous said...

Can you say..."Jinx"?

Anonymous said...

Roughly, how do Lincoln's bank robberies crunch out as a percentage of all commercial robberies? I think it's around 10% or so across the USA, but I was wondering about locally.

By the way, I found this PoP guide informative and interesting.

Tom Casady said...


Bank robberies over the past decade have been 3.8% of all robberies in Lincoln, and 14% of commercial robberies. The author of the POP guide, Deborah Lamm Weisel, is a friend: she moderated my session at last month's POP conference, and she presented her own session on bank robbery. She tells me we are a little high on the ratio of bank robberies to all commercial robberies. I think that is due to our very low number of robberies overall, though. Compare Lincoln's robbery to any other city you can think of.

Anonymous said...

Change of subject...but with the Goodrich Middle School girl getting attacked. Is this possibly the same male that LPD was looking for yesterday when the school was shutdown or was that a different school? Just wanted to know your thought on this...

Anonymous said...

There may be a few more, but off the top of my head, I can only think of one city over 100,000 that can meet or beat our rates for the "hard to not report" crimes, and that's Provo, Utah. However, Provo sort of a unique city, and while it's similar to Lincoln in many ways, there are a few major differences, including home prices, religious makeup (wspecially that one), and voter registration split. Orem is next door, and it's just as tame.

If you had to live in some other city, Provo-Orem wouldn't be half bad. One thing that makes me think their tax coffers are a little fatter: "Officers are encouraged to use their assigned vehicle when not working and running errands or traveling within the city"(!)

Anonymous said...

Great now Im going to get written up for giving someone the hairy eyeball.

Grundle said...

"Officers are encouraged to use their assigned vehicle when not working and running errands or traveling within the city"(!)

This actually doesn't seem like a bad idea when you think about it. Yeah, there's more taxpayer expense in fuel and maintenance, but there's also a police presence on display wherever you go. It HAS to make would-be criminals hesitant when they see a police car parked outside the bank, or the grocery store, or the gas station. I think ALL cities should do this.

Tom Casady said...


[Sigh]. You know I can't let that through, but you sent it anyway.

No. The "hairy eyeball" is a common phrase in my family, as properly defined in the Wictionary.

It works like this: you give the hairy eyeball to a potential evil-doer. If he's not doing anything wrong, he either gives it right back to you, or tilts his head to one side in the move that says "What?", whereupon you give a friendly wave and go about your business.

If, on the other hand, he actually is a nefarious criminal, he either grips the wheel and stares straight ahead (as if he can't see you) or he takes some kind of evasive action (like pulling into someone else's driveway). Either way, the bad guys are notoriously clumsy in their attempt to both look invisible and act nonchalant.

Tom Casady said...


Take-home cars are great if you can afford them, but they're going the way of the phone booth.

Anonymous said...

By the way, about that NSP copter; how soon can they generally have it over Lancaster County airspace if LPD or LSO really, really needs it?

Anonymous said...

A note of humor!

I like it when an officer gives me the "hairy Eyeball" and then gets in behind me. You know they are looking for something or they would not get so close while following. I can only assume to read and run my plate.

You know your being looked at at this point. So I just pull over and watch them pull in behind and stop. I have done this a couple times and all I seem to get is another type of eye. One of what are you doing? I am just giving them a chance to get to know me if they are so interested that they follow me for several blocks at real close range. I have never had one actually get out and say hello though! Wonder why?

One was an NSP and one was an LPD.

Ofcourse I was doing nothing wrong so I had nothing to worry about. But I can see where If I were doing something wrong I might try to avoid eyecontact and a meeting of the minds persey!

Scanner Listener.

Tom Casady said...


Very quickly. Yesterday's suspects were under arrest about 40 minutes after the robbery, and NSP had been in the air for at least 20 minutes. It's an incredible resource, and I can't tell you how much we appreciate it. The interagency coordination and cooperation in this county is just exceptional.

Anonymous said...

Usually if a cop is following close behind you they are on the way somewhere that is a little over code 1 but not enough to be code 2 and are wishing you would get out of the way.

Anonymous said...

"The interagency coordination and cooperation in this county is just exceptional."

That is speedy service. It also looks like NSP had their SWAT crew (and the jazzy little robot) to Syracuse in a hurry for that pharmacy standoff. On a related note, the robber apparently had a handgun; I wonder if this was the same Bruce Leazer that did a stretch for burglary in Colfax County back in 97-98 (and a minor drug para thing here in 96). If so, he ought to get an extra whack for having that weapon, since as a felon, he couldn't even legally hold a firearm, much less buy one.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the picture it's hard to see the bean field that got damaged.