Bank Robber

Photo of the Day

Machine Gun Molly

“If Al Capone had had a daughter, he would have wanted her to be Monique Proietti.”

– La Petit Journal

One day in 1967, a petite housewife-turned-bank-robber was shot by police in a Montreal street, a bullet entering her chest just above her frilly push-up bra. Machine Gun Molly, Montreal’s most famous female gangster, was dead.

Monica Proietti, was a notorious Quebec bank robber, was only 27 when she planned her last big score. Wanting to retire to Florida with her children, Proietti set out on September 19, 1967, with two accomplices to rob a Montreal credit union. But the $3,082 score set off a high-speed police chase, which ended for Proietti when she was shot through the heart.

Monica Proietti was the mother of two children and old twenty seven years old when she died. This young mother was killed in a gun battle with the law.

I know that sounds like a story from the Wild West but this took place in Montreal in 1967. Monica came from a poor Montreal family, many of whom were involved in crime in some way; her grandmother served time in jail for receiving stolen goods, and reportedly ran a school for crime for the neighbourhood children.

Monica was known as Machine Gun Molly and was a known criminal – with a curious background. She was also known as “Machine Gun Molly”, “Mrs. Anthony Smith”, “Molly the Gun”, “Molly the Machine Gun”, “Monica the Gun”, “Monique Smith” and “Monique Tessier”.

She’d been married when she was only seventeen, probably hoping to escape from he impoverished family life. She was one of eight children and most of her family were involved in crime – even her grandmother had been in jail.

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Photo Of The Day

Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. "Tick Tock. I have a bomb"

Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. “Tick Tock. I have a bomb”

From Nurse to Bank Robber

The Bombshell Bandit

“Tick tock. I have a bomb.”

This was a note given by a bank robber to a the cashier at Bank of the West on 6 July 2014.

But this bank robber wasn’t a sturdy man wearing a ski mask or wielding a machine gun, she was a 25-year old Sikh nurse. Called the Bombshell Bandit, due to her glamorous disguises and bomb threats, she captured the attention of many who wondered what could be the reason behind a nurse becoming a bank robber.

Sandeep Kaur  moved to California from Punjab at the age of seven and by 19 was a licensed nurse, earning up to $6,000 a month. But things turned awry when Kaur discovered Las Vegas at 21 and became a gambling addict.

Soon she quit nursing to concentrate on gambling fulltime. “I stopped working. I could not focus and going to work for this little amount of money” Kaur said.

But by March 2012 she had lost her life savings and was in debt. She then borrowed money at a steep interest, attempting to recover what she had lost.

What happened next is best summed by Kaur’s statement:

“I ate at that table. I only took bathroom breaks… I was sitting at the table for 16 hours… hoping it’ll all change. Then it all just went down the drain.”

She had to flee Las Vegas and managed to evade the loan sharks until they caught up with her in May 2014.

Desperate, she resorted to their suggestion of a bank robbery and without a weapon or back-up plan, she managed to escape with $21,200 on her first attempt. But since that wasn’t enough, she had little choice but to rob more banks.

However, her run ended on 31 July 2014 when the manager of US Bank alerted the authorities and thus began the police pursuit that lasted 65 miles, crossed three states, two time zones, and reached speeds of 130mph resulting in her capture.

Kaur may be in prison now, but her exploits have cemented her name on the list of unusual bank robbers.

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Crime Scene. A surveillance camera captured Peggy Jo Tallus, wearing men's clothes and a fake beard, during a robbery in 1992.

Crime Scene. A surveillance camera captured Peggy Jo Tallas, wearing men’s clothes and a fake beard, during a robbery in 1992.

Cowboy Bob’s Last Ride

 The Unlikely Bank Robber was Called ‘Grandmotherly’ and ‘A Kind Lady’… 

He wore a Western hat, never spoke a word, and robbed bank after bank. When the feds finally arrested him, they discovered that their suspect was actually a soft-spoken woman. They thought they’d never hear from her again— but she had other plans.

The story of Peggy Jo Tallas, by most accounts a kind-hearted woman who took care of her ailing mother and also had a successful and wild ride as a bank robber.

But Peggy Jo didn’t just rob a bank, According to the FBI, she was one of the most unusual bank robbers of her generation, a modern-day Bonnie without a Clyde who always worked alone…. She was also a master of disguise, her cross-dressing outfits so carefully designed that law enforcement officials, studying bank surveillance tapes, had no idea they were chasing a woman.

She was wild in her younger days, always looking to escape the humdrum for adventure. But as she matured, she had seemed to settle down. Never married, she lived with and cared daily for her ailing mother. No one would have suspected she would be the one to disguise herself as a man, rob lots of banks, and go to jail. Nor would they suspect she’d continue to rob them in her old age.

Outlaws and desperadoes have been giving lawmen headaches as long as there’re been banks to stick-up. There was “Butch and Sundance,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” and “Pretty Boy” Floyd to name just a few.

But it was Cowboy Bob who bedeviled a onetime Texas FBI agent. Bank robbers aren’t keen on having their pictures taken and Cowboy Bob wasn’t showing the bank security cameras much more than a 10 gallon hat, oversized shades, a mustache, and a Santa-length beard.

In the early ‘90s he started knocking off one suburban Dallas bank after another. FBI man Steve Powell and his bank robbery unit saddled-up after the cool-as-can be bandit they dubbed Cowboy Bob.

Cowboy Bob’s M.O. rarely changed. Stroll in, slip the teller a note signaling this was a hold-up—no alarms, no tricks. Then without a word spoken, he’d calmly walk out with the stolen cash.

One time, Cowboy Bob even showed a little flair that might have tickled Butch Cassidy himself. Every time, Cowboy Bob made a clean escape in a burnt orange Pontiac Grand Prix.  The license plate— always stolen— changed on every hold-up.

From May of ‘91 to May of ‘92 the 10-gallon bandit, described as a white male, about 5’10”, mid-40’s robbed four banks in the greater Dallas area.  He seemed to be grabbing money at will.

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