Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How many people can say they've been in a bank robbery? . . . Me!

I knew, yesterday, that it would be a hectic day.  I had a lot to do before hopping on a place to travel back to Texas from Virginia.  I had to mail the bulky Xmas gifts I had purchased for my neice and nephew in FL.  I had to manage to get 45 pounds of crap into a 35 pound capacity suitcase (success, minus two pairs of shoes . . . noticed this morning that suitcase is now broken beyond repair as a result).  I had to cram in every last second of cuddle time with my 4 month old nephew before leaving.  And, I had to stop in at the bank with my parents to see the diamond and pearl pin my grandpa left me, stowed safely in their safe deposit box.  I was excited to see the lovely pin, made to order for my grandma in 1948, but I didn't anticipate the bank visit to be a hallmark event, or anything.

Once we reached the BB&T branch where my family has banked for 12 years, Dad deposited a check while mom and I chatted with the relationship banker about her new baby and retrieved the safety deposit box.  We went into the small private viewing room and started going through it.  After a while my dad joined us.  I took a few pictures of my pin and wasn't paying much attention to the escalating noise outside our little room.  I finally took notice when I realized the male voice that had been getting louder over the course of a minute was now yelling, "Tens and twenties! Tens and twenties!  Hurry up!" 

I looked at my parents.  They looked back.  We had stopped talking.  I thought, "That really sounds like what someone would be yelling in a robbery.  But, there can't possibly be a robbery going on right now.  Crazy stuff like that doesn't happen to normal folks like us.  Must be a joke."  All the same, I reached over and locked the door as quietly as I could.   My family continued to stare at each other, our attention now solely focused on straining to hear what was going on outside the door.  I realized I was breathing very quickly. 

After an indeterminate amount of time I heard a teller say, "Lock the doors.  Lock the doors now!" and shortly after heard her side of a phone call to 911, reporting a robbery.  What?  Even after all the auditory evidence I had heard, I still couldn't believe it.  We continued to sit in silence for a few minutes, just to make sure the guy was really, truly gone.  I found it a little funny that several minutes AFTER the teller phoned in the robbery, we finally snapped out of it and my mom asked confusedly what had happened- apparently, my dad isn't the one with the age related hearing deterioration, after all . . .

So, I've officially been involved in a bank robbery.  On the receiving side, not on the robbing side (no plans to do that anytime soon).  I didn't actually see anything though, which on the one hand is kinda disappointing (I mean, if you're going to witness a bank robbery, it's kinda lame to just hear it all through a locked door) but realistically, I know I'd have been very shook up if I'd not been in the viewing room and he'd pointed the gun at me.  The teller who he demanded the money from had been robbed once before, fairly recently, and hadn't yet healed (so we were told by another teller as we waited to have our information taken by one of the dozen policemen who showed up shortly after).  She was really upset, and I felt so bad for her, seeing her weep and tremble. 

Here's a link to the very short blurb the local media posted in regards to the incident:  http://hamptonroads.com/node/489905

I was also planning to add a little picture here of the branch roped off with crime scene tape which I took after our release, but I'm having extreme technical difficulties uploading my photos, and yelling "I hate you!" at my camera repeatedly is not fixing the problem.  I will add later if my technology decides to work with me at some point in the future. 


JR Moreau said...

That's crazy! I guess in desperate financial times one is more likely to run into situations like this... but still, it's almost too fantastic to fathom! Glad you got out of that okay. You must be shaken.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I work at BB&T here in my town and everyday we unlock those doors to people, and with ever unfamiliar face comes a little heart flutter, and the question of "What if..."

It's not a fun feeling. I have been lucky enough to not have ever been involved in one, but I can only imagine what was going on in your mind.

I'm glad you are safe!! Which branch in Virginia was it?

Angela said...

That's insane! Glad you're okay.

Schermo said...

I may have age related hearing deterioration, but my reading skills are still intact, and I'll get you for that comment, Pearcanyon!! - MOM

annie said...

That's terrible!! I am glad everyone is okay. I cannot believe that happened in Virginia Beach!

Emily Benavides said...

That's ridiculous! I'm glad you're ok!!

Melissa said...

Well. I can say I have been in a bank robbery. On the teller side. Its not fun. The scariest thing I have ever been through. You never go back to work the same way again. Everyone is a suspect. That happened in May of 2006 and I still get subpeoned to testify against these guys. (Which, by the way, is extremely frustrating because we are told repeatedly, "So, you can't identify the individual because he was wearing a mask. And you can only assume he was african american because of his voice, but you could be wrong." Well, its true I could not pick them out in a visual lineup, but I could in a voice test. I guarantee you. And for months, if there was someone running in my generally direction with any kind of determination, there was a second of regression back to the moment when I was lept at over the counter and a gun to my face.

And then, to have it happen, though less violently, again 3 weeks later is just icing I suppose.

Its a moment that any teller will never forget.

Gald you and everyone else is ok.