“Is It Still Robbery If You Just Ask Nicely?”

Source: Is It Still Robbery If You Just Ask Nicely? Lowering the Bar

Such a curious story. Which is very funny, in its own way, although banks in Israel don’t seem to be laughing. Here’s a taste:

Let’s say you walk into a bank, go up to a teller and say something like, “Hi, I was just passing by your bank and thought I’d stop in and see if you’d be willing to give me some money. Could I have some money?” The teller looks at you for a minute and then gives you $28,000. You leave.


According to this report, that’ll be the issue in the trial of Michael Hadar, an Israeli man indicted a couple of weeks ago for robbing at least eight banks in the last five months. Here’s what he did:

In each case, his “modus operandi” was the same: He would walk into the bank and choose a likely looking teller. He would instruct her (it was usually a woman he chose) to gather up some cash and place it into the bag he very politely slid over the counter, as he told her that he had no plans—or means, for that matter—of hurting her or anyone else. There was no running or exciting chase scenes; when his business was done, Hadar walked quietly out of the bank.

In total, he was able to get $28,000 this way. The indictment describes this “modus operandi” as “a very effective method that has proven itself.” Yes, it is a very effective method for getting something—it’s called asking.

I’m wondering whether Mr. Hadar has read the great Swedish crime series known as the Martin Beck books. Because in The Terrorists, a young woman does precisely what Mr. Hadar did. Although I suspect Mr. Hadar was not as demonstrably innocent as was Rebecka Lind. (I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happened to Rebecka.)

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