Skip to main content

tv   Heist  MSNBC  October 3, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

4:00 pm
they are some of the most daring bank robberies in america. from big cities to small towns, they use ingenuity and terror to steal cash and make a getaway. in new york city, a man defies the odds and makes a tremendous leap over a bank's 12-foot tall bandit barrier. >> another shot fire over the bandit barrier. same m.o. >> in a small town in
4:01 pm
pennsylvania, a would-be robber dresses like a rock star in the hopes of not getting caught. >> he was wearing this orange color zz topp rock star beard and carrying a revolver. and in los angeles the bank robbery capital of the world, a trio of masked men armed with shotguns threaten to do damage by firing blasts from their deadly weapons. >> once you're prepared to bring this kind of weapon into a bank, you're pretty much ready to commit a lot of violence. >> from new york to l.a., bank robbers from coast to coast have one thing on their minds. to do whatever it takes to get the money. it's the summer of 2002 in new york city.
4:02 pm
the crime rate across the city's five boroughs is at a record low. new york is ranked 197th in the nation as far as crime is concerned. it's about the same as provo, utah. but now a rash of violent bank robberies is about to make new york city a more violent place. >> there was heightened awareness that there was bank robberies occurring at a higher level than normal. police commissioner had been making several statements about it. we were very aware of it and that's when this bank robber pattern began. >> one of most disturbing starts on august 8th, 2002. the scene, the banco popular on eastern parkway in brooklyn. the bank is decades old with a 40-foot dome ceiling. a glass partition separates bank tellers from customers. two men enter the bank. one immediately fires a gunshot into the ceiling to get the attention of bank employees and
4:03 pm
patrons. then this man does something that is equally astonishing if not more. after he tucks his handgun into the waist of his pants, he pulls off an amazing feat. though he's not tall, he steps on to the teller counter, uses his legs to push himself into the air and somehow manages to leap over the bandit barrier, which is 12 feet high. he lands with a thud on the other side as the bank tellers scramble to get out of the way. the bandit barrier is the bullet proof glass partition that extends from the top of the teller counter up more than 12 feet off the ground. as the thief lands on the other side of the barrier, his cohort stays in the bank lobby where he forces everyone to the floor. he holds them at gunpoint and watches the door in case more customers enter.
4:04 pm
on the other side of the bandit barrier, the thief has tellers load thousands of dollars into a bag. in less than four minutes, the men flee the bank. they are seen entering a getaway car and disappear into traffic. within minutes law enforcement arrives on the scene. they are baffled by eyewitness accounts of a man jumping over a 12-foot barrier. >> when i walked into the bank it was literally over 12 feet high and when we interviewed the bank tellers and the witnesses they literally said he went over this thing like three seconds. just jumped up over the top and then jumped down. we were like in disbelief. >> eyewitnesss say to make his astonishing leap the robber grabbed hold of the top of the barrier, and vaulted himself over to the other side, feet first. the tellers watched in disbelief as the thief came plowing down.
4:05 pm
>> just a jump and a leap over a bandit barrier that's several feet into the air coupled with people shooting guns in the bank. for no particular reason other than to get somebody's attention. >> police search for evidence of the gunshot that was fired into the air. they find paint chips on the floor that had fallen from the 40-foot ceiling. >> we just looked up with binoculars and saw a dink on the ceiling where the round ended up. >> when the robber tossed his body over the top of the barrier, his hand touched the top of it. a thief has left behind a perfect fingerprint. >> the bandit barrier on top was maybe about this wide. it looked like someone took a fingerprint card, it was so perfect. >> there was dust across the top of the glass where the individual went over, it had not been touched in many, many months, if not years. the individual did not have any gloves on at the time and left a perfect fingerprint. the fingerprint is run through a
4:06 pm
national database that contains the prints of millions of known criminals. but there is no match. the man who mystified police by making his olympic-style vault over the barrier has vanished into thin air. then less than a month later, the leaping bandit is back with another stunning takeover robbery. it's october 15th at the m&t bank on queens boulevard in forest hills. the pair of robbers follow the same m.o. they enter the bank, fire a shot into the air and then one of the men makes an incredible leap over the barrier. almost $14,000 goes missing. >> sure enough, second job came in, another shot fired, over the bandit barrier. same m.o. >> a month later on november 23rd a third heist.
4:07 pm
the greenpoint bank on lyndon boulevard in queens is hit by the leaping bandit. and his partner in crime. the robbery is exactly the same. a shot fired into the ceiling and then the shooter climbs and clears the bandit barrier in a single bound. more than $4,500 is taken. a month after that the pair hit another bank. this time a chase branch. >> police are looking for a pair of robbers who carried out a daring and violent bank heist in the bronx. happened this morning inside the chase bank on westchester avenue in the sound view section. police say the robbers drew their guns, fired shots into the air, as they demanded the tellers hand over their money. >> coming up the police fear the thieves are not caught soon someone is going to get hurt. >> they were endangering the public by firing the shots. it's just a matter of time before someone got seriously injured. ♪
4:08 pm
♪ (vo) making the most out of every mile. that's why i got a subaru impreza. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. this bale of hay cannot be controlled. when a wildfire raged through elkhorn ranch, the sudden loss of pasture became a serious problem for a family business. faced with horses that needed feeding and a texas drought that sent hay prices soaring, the owners had to act fast. thankfully, mary miller banks with chase for business. and with greater financial clarity and a relationship built for the unexpected,
4:09 pm
she could control her cash flow, and keep the ranch running. chase for business. so you can own it. chase for business. if an electric toothbrush was going to clean better than a manual. he said sure... but don't get just any one. get one inspired by dentists. with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's rounded brush head cups your teeth to break up plaque, and rotates to sweep it away. and oral-b delivers a clinically proven superior clean vs. sonicare diamond clean. my mouth feels super clean. oral-b. know you're getting a superior clean. i'm never going back to a manual brush.
4:10 pm
4:11 pm
a series of terrifying takeover-style bank robberies by just two men have traumatized new york city bank employees and left cash drawers empty. the thieves enter a bank, fire a shot into the air, and then one of the men makes a dramatic leap over the teller counter. it's the signature move of this pair. >> it wasn't any particular day of the week or time of day. it wasn't any particular area of the city. >> however, a pattern has emerged. one that sets these robbers apart from any other. it's the ability of one of the men to make seemingly impossible leaps over the bandit barriers in the banks. >> they would shoot off a round or more than one round to get everybody's attention to show that they had the force that they needed to commit what they were doing. they would ask that everybody get down on the ground and leap over the teller counter and then access the teller's drawers and
4:12 pm
money from the other side. >> not only does jumping over a 12-foot barrier surprise and scare those in the banks, it turns out to be far more lucrative than approaching a single teller window. by now the thieves have hit a half a dozen banks. their total is take over $100,000. to further complicate the police search, witnesses report that instead of using getaway cars, the robbers are now using the city's massive subway system to escape. they often choose banks they rob based on proximity to subway stations. if robbing a bank isn't daring enough, once inside the underground, the robbers take another huge risk. >> some of the jobs they would enter the station over the turnstyle and jump onto the train tracks. >> the robbers run into the dark knowing that if a train comes,
4:13 pm
odds are they're adept enough to get out of its way. >> if you're familiar with the tracks, you can tell. it's dark down there and if you start seeing the lights. and there's places to stand where you don't get hit with the train. >> they travel on the tracks to the next station. they take off their wigs, hats and other parts of their disguises. then they jump onto the train platform and exit the station where they have a getaway car waiting for them. even with the fingerprint and photo evidence, investigators can't narrow down any possible suspects. for seven months the robberies spring up all over the new york city area nearly once a month. authorities believe the thieves are being careful in selecting their next locations. they use the city's multiple boroughs and police jurisdictions to keep law enforcement guessing where they will strike next. new yorkers are starting to
4:14 pm
worry. will they be the next victims of the leaping bandit? >> we had a lot of pressure from the nypd and also the fbi to solve this case because they were endangering the public by firing the shots. >> finally a lead comes in. an arrest is made in an unrelated case where one of the suspects had a handgun. police protocol requires the firearm to be taken to the nypd laboratory to be analyzed. and to see if it has a connection to any other ongoing investigations. they get a match. the shell casing discovered the scenes of the leaping bandit robberies connect with this gun. ballistic tests done by the new york police department laboratory confirm there is no doubt. this is the gun. meaning the person in possession of the weapon most likely is involved in the leaping bandit
4:15 pm
crimes. >> we couldn't wait to get the photos and start looking at them to see if they matched the surveillance photos, which they did. >> the man is felix molina. he's the thief who helped control the lobbies during the robberies. investigators hope they can use the possibility of a shorter prison sentence to get molina to name his accomplice. but time is of the essence. a dangerous bank robber is still on the loose. the public is in danger with this guy shooting rounds. it's a matter of time before you get that dreaded phone call someone got shot at the bank. >> investigators put the pressure on felix molina. they speak to his family and friends. and they are the ones who name the gun-wielding thief. the infamous leaping bandit. it's molina's longtime friend, 21-year-old martin pedro. >> it's that friendship that actually assisted us. because everybody that was connected with that individual
4:16 pm
knew who mr. pedro was. >> now that investigators have pedro's name, they are able to pull up his prior arrests. they discover the fingerprint found at the scene of the first heist is a perfect match. police say the fingerprint didn't match before because there's so many prints in the database that the computer is not always reliable in making the connection. but with a name, an examiner can investigate and an exact comparison can be made. >> and sure enough it's a 100% hit that it's the fingerprint. >> police also confirm that martin pedro is as dangerous as they suspected. >> when the crew was out driving around, they needed money. they would call it martin's atm machine. and basically what it was, he would jump out of the car, run around the corner and rob somebody at gunpoint and then jump back in and they would have a gold chain or money to spend on whatever they needed. they used to call it martin's
4:17 pm
atm. people got robbed. one of the victims did get shot. >> on february 3rd, 2003, a man is shot in the bronx after an argument over money. he's wounded three times with a .9 millimeter handgun. though his injuries are critical, the man survives. he's had dealings before with the man who shot him and he knows his name. martin pedro. now with a shooting charge against him as well as the warrant for the bank robberies, pedro flees to south carolina. police almost catch him during a traffic stop, but pedro gets away. based on his cell phone records, police know when pedro returns to the new york area. they begin a stakeout of a bronx -- of his bronx apartment. because he's considered armed and dangerous, law enforcement offers a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture. eight months after the first
4:18 pm
robbery, audio surveillance on martin pedro's phone finally gives police the break they need. they discover he's at the bronx apartment of a female friend. on april 9th, 2003, members of the federal fugitive task force surround the building and move in. when officers attempt to break down the door, pedro jumps out a window and scampers up the fire escape outside. he quickly climbs to the roof. unfortunately for the leaping bandit, task force officers are well aware of his athletic ability. they are on the roof waiting for him. when he's arrested, police find he's carrying a handgun. once in custody, pedro has a simple request. >> he wanted to see his girlfriend one last time, so we arranged that.
4:19 pm
once had he saw her, and gave her a kiss goodbye, he was very, very cooperative and polite. >> when questioned by police, pedro has no problem bragging about the crimes he's committed. especially about robbing banks. he told detectives the only reason he did it is because that's where the money is.
4:20 pm
coming up, a pennsylvania robber plays rock and roll hero during a stickup. >> this is a dangerous situation because you're not sure what's going on in the mind of the bank robber. we've got trouble in tummy town.
4:21 pm
peptocopter! ♪ when cold cuts give your belly thunder, pink relief is the first responder, so you can be a business boy wonder! ♪ fix stomach trouble fast with pepto. (ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh) (hush my darling...) (don't fear my darling...) (the lion sleeps tonight.) (hush my darling...) man snoring (don't fear my darling...) (the lion sleeps tonight.) woman snoring
4:22 pm
take the roar out of snore. yet another innovation only at a sleep number store. they don't worry if something's possible. they just do it. at sears optical, we're committed to bringing them eyewear that works as hard as they do. right now, buy one pair and get another free. quality eyewear for doers. sears optical how often we were changing the it really started to add up. so we switched to charmin. with more go's in every roll, charmin ultra mega roll equals mega value. each sheet is 75% more absorbent so you can use less with every go. which means charmin ultra mega roll lasts longer than even the leading thousand-sheet brand. cha-ching! nothing scary about that. we all go, why not enjoy the go with charmin.
4:23 pm
in quakertown, pennsylvania, a strange bank robbery is about to take place. two men drive into a shopping mall parking lot, each in separate vehicles. one drives to the back of the lot while the other parks just in front of the td bank. their plan is bizarre, but one they think will work. quakertown has a population of about 9,000. it's 35 miles northwest of the pennsylvania and new jersey border.
4:24 pm
though it's not far from more high crime areas like philadelphia, quakertown is not known for a high rate of violent crime. >> our crime is normally not serious crime. it's typical dui arrests, theft, burglaries, also some type of domestic and juvenile crimes. >> quakertown experienced very few bank robberies. the bank these thieves targeted is just off a major roadway, route 309. it's in the middle of a large shopping plaza. for the convenience of its customers, the bank stays open late and is open on saturdays and sundays. it's nearly 8:00. the bank is due to close in ten minutes. >> the quakertown plaza is a fairly large shopping center. in the parking lot is where the
4:25 pm
td bank is. it's a bright building. it's a light color. it has a typical td bank green sign. it's very visible from route 309. >> there's another aspect of this bank that makes it unique. most of its walls are glass. >> i believe it's not a coincidence there was no customers in at the time they planned to commit the robbery. minimizing the number of potential witnesses. >> the man closest to the bank is in his early 30s. he's supposed to walk into the bank, check it out, go back outside to make sure the coast is clear and then head back into the bank to hold it up. but the robber panics. he's already wearing his disguise. he steps inside the glass doors of the bank, stops, turns around as if he's going to leave, and then turns back and heads inside.
4:26 pm
>> it didn't work out the way they initially planned. >> as soon as the thief approaches the teller's window, employees know he's going to rob the place. he wears a bizarre outfit. a bright orange fake beard hooked around his ears. he looks like someone out of a rock and roll show. >> he was wearing this orange-colored zz topp rock star beard, carrying a dark revolver. >> whenever you have an armed robbery where you're completely at the mercy of the gunman, obviously it's a dangerous situation. anything could set off the gunman, the robber. >> the robber is nervous. >> he was sweating profusely and seemed jumpy. i know with certainty that the initial employee who had the gun pointed at his head thought that he was going to pull the
4:27 pm
trigger. >> this is a dangerous situation because you're unsure what he's going to do, what his plans are going to be to the point where somebody acts the wrong way, will he use that gun? >> the robber screams at the employees. he wants to know if any of them has pushed a security button to alert the police. the bank's customer service representative says no. he points the gun to the teller's head, then tucks the weapon inside his bag and demands money. the teller hands him a fistful of cash. the robber turns and runs out the door into the parking lot. as the thief leaves, an employee rushes to follow him. >> she rushed over to the doors and locked the doors so that he couldn't come back in. during that time was getting a description of the vehicle so she did a great job right there.
4:28 pm
>> in the parking lot the robber's accomplice is nervously waiting in his van. he is the lookout man. when the robber enters the bank, the lookout man is seen in security camera footage driving a silver minivan. he drives the vehicle into the lot of the shopping center, parks his car and waits. their plan is simple. the thief would rob the bank while the lookout man would wait in the parking lot. if police arrive at the scene before the bank robber can make a getaway, his accomplice will purposely drive his minivan into the police car to create a diversion. >> he was going to drive out and cause a diversion because he knew what direction quakertown borough police would respond from. >> if law enforcement responds in time and there's a crash, the robber's partner plans to say that hitting the police car is an accident. because law enforcement doesn't
4:29 pm
make it to the scene in time, there's no need for the men to go forward with their plan of ramming the mini van into the police car. the lookout man drives his minivan to the gas station located in the parking lot. he pumps gas and nervously watches as his friend leaves. police arrive at the bank. the accomplice who can see the bank from the parking lot gas station quickly gets into his car and drives away. the thief heads out of town in a blue cadillac. what he doesn't know is that one of the bank employees has been able to give police a description of his vehicle. >> the first responding officers got a description out over the air to surrounding departments. minutes later, officers from springfield township spotted a similar vehicle going northbound on 309. >> one headlight was out, which obviously would be grounds to pull the vehicle over.
4:30 pm
when he got behind the vehicle, he noticed it matched the make and model and general description of the cadillac involved in the armed robbery. >> the officer closely follows the vehicle along a series of lonely stretches of road. when the officer attempts to pull the cadillac over, the driver speeds off. suddenly the car turns into the driveway of a home. the robber gets out. the officer commands him to stop. >> keep in mind, the officer was by himself at that point, knew that he was dealing with, if his instincts were correct, with an armed gunman, and got out of the vehicle and ordered at gunpoint for the operator to stop. >> the criminal refuses to obey. instead he runs between two houses. the officer follows, but loses ee -- but loses the thief who disappears into the night. he leaves behind his car filled
4:31 pm
with evidence. coming up, police have the vehicle used in the td bank robbery, but whose driveway did the robber pull into and why? >> when we first contacted him to find out that information about the car, then it just kind of escalated from there. it gets pretty stuffy. when dad opens up the window, what's the first thing he does? the tobin stance. but when we open up the windows, you can see the dust floating around. there's dog hair. pollen. more work. (doorbell) whoa! what's this? swiffer sweeper! swiffer dusters! removes up to 70% of dust and allergens. stays on there like glue. can't do that with the other broom. wow, i love it. the tobin stance! that is totally what it is!
4:32 pm
[ scanner beeping ] sir, could you step aside? "sir"? come on. you know who i am. progressive insurance? uh, i save people an average of over $500 when they switch? did you pack your own bags? oh! right -- the name your price tool. it shows people policy options to help fit their budget. [ scanner warbling ] crazy that a big shot like me would pack his own bags, right? [ chuckles ] so, do i have the right to remain handsome? [ chuckles ] wait. uh-oh. trust number one doctor recommended dulcolax constipated? use dulcolax tablets for gentle overnight relief suppositories for relief in minutes and stool softeners for comfortable relief of hard stools. dulcolax, designed for dependable relief bis committed to truth on the label. when we say real meat is the first ingredient, it is always number one. we leave out poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat and soy.
4:33 pm
and, we own where our dry food is made - 100%. can other brands say all that? for grain-free nutrition you can trust, does your food go beyond? learn more at
4:34 pm
>> at least 18 teenagers were injured today when a concrete overhang collapsed on them outside their school in olan, north carolina. the students were waiting to unload their band instruments from a truck which backed into the building causing that collapse. in brooklyn, one person is dead and three are injured after a gas explosion. now back to our msnbc special. bll it's the day after the td
4:35 pm
bank in quakertown, pennsylvania, was robbed. police are searching the area in and around quakertown plaza for clues. the previous evening a man entered the bank wearing a long orange beard as a disguise. the police have already given the robber a nickname. >> the zz topp bandit, because his beard resembles those sported by the texas rock and roll band. in a neighboring county, police hope to search the man's blue cadillac. he left it in the driveway of a home after being followed by police. he fled the scene and no one knows where he is. police obtain a warrant to search the vehicle. inside they find plenty of evidence. >> the costume beard that the gunman wore was recovered from the vehicle. a penn state duffel bag that was used to carry out the money. >> investigators also find the robber's black knit hat.
4:36 pm
police talk with the man who lives in the house where the cadillac was found the night before. the man's name is anthony greco. at first he was cooperative. when the police tell him a bank was robbed, he seemed surprised. >> he said what bank was robbed and when we told him he acted surprised and said wow, that's my bank. then we said when was your last contact with the bank? oh, it was months ago. >> but when police asked greco about his whereabouts at the time of the robbery, greco becomes evasive. and the fact that a car used in a bank robbery is parked in his driveway is enough evidence to draw suspicion. greco tells police he could not have been involved with the td bank robbery because he was in new jersey at his job. it turns out that is not the truth. security camera footage taken in the parking lot of the delivery service where greco works shows him leaving in the late afternoon.
4:37 pm
shortly after the robbery, anthony greco's estranged wife contacts quakertown police. she knows about the heist and tells detectives that on the night of the robbery, greco acted strangely. >> this night she called about 7:30, however he immediately when he answered the phone, she could tell something was not right. he just didn't seem himself. >> when greco picks up his children from his wife's house a few days after the robbery, he takes them to a motel called the executive inn. when police talk with the manager of the executive inn, they are told that a man checked in during the early morning hours after the robbery. he paid in cash. he had no wallet or identification and said he was waiting for a friend to pick him up. police examine the motel security camera tapes. they see a man repeatedly use the phone in the lobby. it's those calls that link greco to this mystery man.
4:38 pm
>> we found that mr. greco talked to him a minimum of 38 times, using the cell phone records. >> the security camera outside the motel shows someone who resembles the bank robber being picked up by a man in a white suv. in the days following the robbery, greco is driving a white suv. police need one more piece of the puzzle to irrefutably link the men to the robbery. it comes from evidence found inside the car. a black knit cap is sent out for dna testing. when the results come back, there's a hit. the dna belongs to a convicted felon. >> ultimately a perfect dna match was identified on the knit hat. the match being that to joseph scala. >> scala and greco are arrested for the robbery of the td bank. without putting up a fight. it turns out the men know each
4:39 pm
other from when they lived in new york city's staten island. they chose the td bank because greco knew it well. and he believed it would be an easy mark. scala tells police he robbed the bank to help support his heroin habit. greco says his role in the crime was to support a different habit, greed. coming up, shotgun-wielding bandits terrorize los angeles with their willingness to open fire. >> a shotgun's very loud
4:40 pm
outside, but inside the bank it's deafening. seems like we've hit a road block. that reminds me... anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea... ...gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against occasional digestive issues. with three types of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'. how often we were changing the it really started to add up. so we switched to charmin. with more go's in every roll, charmin ultra mega roll equals mega value. each sheet is 75% more absorbent
4:41 pm
so you can use less with every go. which means charmin ultra mega roll lasts longer than even the leading thousand-sheet brand. cha-ching! nothing scary about that. we all go, why not enjoy the go with charmin. this bale of hay cannot be controlled. when a wildfire raged through elkhorn ranch, the sudden loss of pasture became a serious problem for a family business. faced with horses that needed feeding and a texas drought that sent hay prices soaring, the owners had to act fast. thankfully, mary miller banks with chase for business. and with greater financial clarity and a relationship built for the unexpected, she could control her cash flow, and keep the ranch running. chase for business. so you can own it.
4:42 pm
(vo) making the most out of every mile. that's why i got a subaru impreza. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
4:43 pm
it's known as the bank robbery capital of the world. los angeles, california. >> request assistance. we have a possible 211 in progress at the bank of america. >> across sprawling l.a. county, bank robbers make fast work of grabbing cash from the area's banks. >> he made some demands and came outside the door of the bank with a hostage at gunpoint. >> some years there are hundreds of robberies. some years there have been thousands. >> witnesses on the location say two to three suspects inside the bank wearing ski masks and ak-47s. >> one reason, southern california's massive freeway system. dozens of highways crisscross the region, creating getaway access to any robber who finds their way to one of the roads.
4:44 pm
the fbi in southern california often gives nicknames to the suspects. the snowboarder bandit. the explosive threat bandit. and the plain jane bandit. they do this because there are so many bank robberies that the nicknames help distinguish one suspect from another. and it also helps the public possibly identify the thieves. february 7th, 2008, another day in los angeles county and another bank robbery. two men park their car a few blocks from the cathay bank which is located on a busy street. the men get out of their car. they quickly walk across the street having to avoid the heavy traffic on gail avenue. no one notices them as they approach the bank. the masks they wear and the type
4:45 pm
of gun one of them uses immediately create chaos. >> their plan was to make people cower in fear as they run in, overpower them, usually put them on the ground or in the vault. >> employees are held at gunpoint. one of the men carrying a shotgun demands the keys to the vault. fearing for their lives, none of the employees makes a move. in response to no one following his commands, the man with the shotgun fires a blast into the ceiling. >> then the firing just makes everything even that much more nerve-racking. a shotgun is very loud outside, but inside the bank is deafening. it just creates this panic in the bank. >> one of the tellers immediately hands over the keys to the vault. now with the bank employees under their control, the gunmen force everyone into the vault. where they rip cash from the
4:46 pm
drawers. the men obviously know what they are doing. one keeps time on his watch while the others fill sacks full of money. in a matter of minutes, they are gone, leaving in their wake the employees and customers still huddling inside the vault. the men get away with $20,000. the fbi believes the men most likely jump into a stolen car. they drive a block or so, then move themselves and the money to one of their own vehicles. their outfits, strange masks and white painters overalls inspires their fbi nickname. they are dubbed the wwf shotgun bandits. named after the world wrestling federation. to the fbi, their masks are reminiscent of those worn by professional wrestlers.
4:47 pm
however, the masks are actually from a professional football team. >> it's basically a houston texan mask that's made to emulate a wrestling mask. >> on february 26th, less than three weeks after the cathay bank hold-up, the wwf shotgun bandits strike again. this time it's in the los angeles suburb of roland heights. their target, the first bank located just a few blocks off the 60 freeway. the bank services the area's large chinese and taiwanese community. roland heights is known as little taipei. the lettering on the side of the bank is in both chinese and english. once again, the gunmen brazenly push their way into the bank. they use a shotgun to intimidate everyone inside. one of the men jumps the counter. he heads for the vault while the
4:48 pm
other two men threaten to shoot anyone who makes a move. as with their previous heist, the men keep a close watch on the time. in three minutes, they are gone with $67,000. the men are making sure to hit banks that are close to los angeles freeways and they are choosing targets by first checking out the layout of the interior of the banks. they want to make sure they can get in and out as quickly as possible. the fbi says in this photo one of the men is caught on camera checking out a bank. >> sometimes they would case nine or ten banks in one day looking around for banks that they thought were easy to control. >> each time they enter a bank, one of the men is armed with a mossberg 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun. because one gunman left shotgun shells near the scene of the crime, investigators know what kind of rounds they're using.
4:49 pm
and it's not good news. the shotgun shells are 00-buck with nine ball bearings in each round. each about the size of a .32 caliber bullet. >> there's a tremendous amount of damage that can be done with a weapon like this. so once you're prepared to bring this kind of weapon into a bank or some place public, that means that you're pretty much, you know, ready to commit a lot of violence. >> despite their bravado and their ability to pick banks they can rob and get away with it, their greed for cash is catching up with them. on march 27th, 2008, the men break their routine and gamble with their luck. they choose to rob a bank in the northeastern orange county community of yorba linda. unlike the other banks they have hit that have easy access to the area's highways, this first bank branch is about four miles from the nearest freeway.
4:50 pm
as the men enter the bank, an employee sees them coming. she rushes to a neighboring business and calls 911. >> i was walking by the watch commander's office to talk to the lieutenant. at that time we heard the tone go out for a bank robbery that was occurring in yorba linda. with that he asked me if i would get my s.w.a.t. people together because of the possibility that there was more than one suspect. >> police are already on their way. coming up, the wwf bandits are about to walk into a gaundlet of law enforcement. and they're not going down without making a run for it. >> my initial fear was there was going to be a shoot-out as soon as they came out of the bank flt in your man-cave.
4:51 pm
you think it smells fine, but your wife smells this... sfx: ding music starts luckily for all your hard-to-wash fabrics there's febreze fabric refresher it doesn't just mask, it eliminates odors...'ve gone noseblind to woman inhales use febreze fabric refresher till it's fresh and try pluggable febreze... continuously eliminate odors for up to 45 days of freshness pluggable febreze and fabric refresher two more ways [inhale + exhale mnemonic] to breathe happy. take the zantac it challenge! pill works fast? zantac works in as little as 30 minutes.
4:52 pm
nexium can take 24 hours. when heartburn strikes, take zantac for faster relief than nexium or your money back. take the zantac it challenge. it takes a lot of work... but i really love it.s. i'm on the move all day long... and sometimes, i just don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost® to get the nutrition that i'm missing. boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a great taste. i don't plan on slowing down any time soon. stay strong. stay active with boost®. [get up to 48 monthsw interest-free financing on tempur-pedic. save $300 on beautyrest and posturepedic. or choose $300 in free gifts with stearns & foster. the triple choice sale is on now at sleep train.
4:53 pm
. it's 11:0015 a.m., march 27,
4:54 pm
2008. the first bank in yorba linda, california. three masked gunmen are inside the bank. dressed in threatening masks and painted overalls. one has a shotgun. and isn't afraid to use it. >> could you tell by the initial report of the person at the bank that this was a very serious crime in progress. >> what these gunmen don't know is that a bank employee sees them coming. she slips out a door and calls 911 from a neighboring business. >> this is code 3, which is lights and siren, i was just hit my lights because i was so close. i didn't want the bank robbers to know i was coming. >> my first thought was we needed a helicopter and an airship. the first thing i requested on my way to the bank. >> though the gunmen are inside the bank for under two minutes. when they walk outside with $136,000, the first police car is just arriving. but these gunmen are not going to put down their weapons
4:55 pm
easily. they jump into a tan ford econnoline van and head south on imperial highway. to packing house square. >> as it made the turn, there's a bump there. the van caught air as it went in. hit, almost lost it into some parked cars. >> the men pull pull up in front of a medical office. >> they pulled out side arms, pointed them at the suspects. started going down the stairs. >> the three men raced down a nearby stairway as they had planned. once in the garage, one man flees. headed toward a busy treat. a police motorcycle officer spots the suspect crossing the road. >> the officer watched him and suddenly saw him sprinting away. >> the others rush back to a black range rover. dropping bundles of cash along the way. suv is their actual vehicle in which they plan to make their final escape. >> my biggest concern was that someone was going to get hurt
4:56 pm
whether it was a citizen or one of the officers. >> police were swarming the area. arrest the man who flees by foot. witnesses report seeing the range rover leave the parking structure and head north bixt this time, even more police have responded. along with a helicopter from the nearby city of costa mesa. >> as the chase was going on, reaching speeds of up to about 70 miles per hour, the suspects were throwing items of clothing out of the range rover, including gloves, masks, and one of their painter jumpsuits they were wearing during the crime. >> at the intersection of cramer and pasten cherry roads, one of the men jumps out of the moving car. >> all of a sudden the door flew open, and a male black jumped out and hopped over the wall into the neighborhood there. >> the driver of the range rover continued for 15 more miles on southern california highways. he finally stops his car and
4:57 pm
gives up. >> it gets very narrow and it's nothing but canyon walls. and i think at that point he realized he had nowhere to go. >> the man who jumped out of the moving vehicle, however, has not yet been found. >> the searchers start from house to house, there's two teams one on each side of the street and we're leapfrogging as one team does one side of the road, police dot other side. >> police believe he ran into a nearby home. with no way of knowing where the man is law enforcement calls in one of their police dogs. the dog finds the man hiding in the rafters of the garage. >> all of a sudden we hear a voice start saying, i'm in here, i'm up high. don't send the dog in, i don't want to be bitten. i'll cooperate. >> faced with the prospect of being bitten by the dog, the man surrenders to police. >> this robbery ranks probably one of my top two or three crimes in 22 years here.
4:58 pm
based on the number of crime scenes we had to deal with. the number of suspects. and the sheer violence level. >> once the men are in custody. their criminal past comes to light. two of the three men had previous robbery convictions, all were suspected of robbing two other banks before they started dressing in wrestlers' masks, they had started together just months before. instead of bizarre costumes, they had simply wore street clothes and ski masks to do the clothes. at least two of them even held up an electronics store. where they tied up the owners in a back room. they began loading a white truck with electronics equipment. something out of the ordinary for a sunday. a passing police cruiser stopped at the store to see what was going on. what the owners tied up in back. the men pretended they worked at the store. ? they attempted to try to sell them or interest them in some of the items that were for sale in the warehouse. >> the officers declined and left.
4:59 pm
it wasn't until the men fled, that police returned to find out they had been face to face with the men that would one day be known as the wwf shotgun bandits.
5:00 pm
two desperate killers, an improbable escape. >> everyone is a little bit in awe of what they did. >> a million-dollar a day manhunt. >> potential dang torte community could not have been higher. >> and she was the key. she's the prison seamstress who shocked the country, helping to stitch together one of the most daring prison breaks of all time. >> i'm not the monster that everybody has been saying. >> matt lauer's exclusive interview with joyce mitchell. >> i just got in over my head and i couldn't get out. >> why would a law-abiding wife and mother help two killers escape? was she in love with o


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on