Bank Robbery Tactic

This video purports to be a bank robbery in Kiev. He first threatens a teller, who basically ignores him because she's behind bullet-proof glass. But then the robber threatens one of her co-workers, who is on his side of the glass. Interesting example of a security system failing for an unexpected reason.

The video is weird, though. The robber seems very unsure of himself, and never really points the gun at anyone or even holds it properly.

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 6:03 AM • 23 Comments


Paul RenaultAugust 14, 2017 7:15 AM

Me, I wondered why the security cameras are so high, so you can only identify the 'unsub' by their hair whorls.

chuckAugust 14, 2017 10:48 AM

Can't remember the name of the movie when the guy robbed subway cash registers by pumping gasoline via ticket hole and threatening to set in on fire.

Jarrod FratesAugust 14, 2017 12:14 PM

I'm not sure how much of a security failure this actually is, at least in terms of the window. The ability for a bank robber to take a hostage is well-known, whether it's a bank employee or a customer. I don't think the plexiglass was really for protecting the tellers so much as it prevented bank robbers from getting behind the counter. They were made bulletproof because that made it essentially shatterproof against everything else, too.

The basic rule is the same in most countries: do what is necessary to not get anyone hurt. Anyone, including a rank amateur (and this guy ranks among the most amateur I've ever seen, letting his hostage get behind him, holding the gun by the silencer toward the end), can get some money without much effort. Even bank security guards are usually there only as a deterrent through witnessing events or spotting suspicious activities.

WaelAugust 14, 2017 12:28 PM

He first threatens a teller

I say the robber is a she. Small feet, obvious shoulder padding, roundish face, tried to put the money in a purse...

I watched it on a small screen, so I could be off,

Interesting example of a security system failing for an unexpected reason.

The airline industry could learn a lesson or two from this video.

albertAugust 14, 2017 2:32 PM

Security cameras too high. True that! Better to put them behind the glass. I also wonder why the back door is open. Is there a safe back there? Or the tellers entrance? And the cash drawer is visible to customers...

The thing that concerns me is that the tellers colleague -walks right by- the robber while he's holding the gun.

Oh well, as Huey Lewis said, "It's only money,"....

. .. . .. --- ....

JardaAugust 14, 2017 2:41 PM

The security failure by a colleague on the robbers side is not so much a security failure. Banks have clients and if there'd be no colleague at hand, he could have threatened a client. The bank would hardly ignore it just because it's only a client. The PR would be destructive.

Joshua BowmanAugust 14, 2017 4:03 PM

This has to be a training video. There's no way anyone can be that calm around a robber unless they get one every week. But it does highlight Bruce's point, that you can build fort knox around one weakness while leaving another completely open.

Seriously, who put in those camera systems though? Do they plan on identifying people by their bald spots?

wumpusAugust 14, 2017 4:28 PM

@Joshua Bowman

It is entirely possible that they *do* get one every week. Robbery is sufficiently common in the US to be a downside of being a teller even in times wildly more stable than modern Ukraine.

I'm also wondering if the security company who installed the cameras analyzed the bank and decided they would rather do inside attacks rather than do the right job? Makes things easy if you already know all the responses (not that this is an inside attack. It is just an ordinary attack. They happen all the time).

On second thought, I doubt the cameras are to avoid suspicion of an inside attack. Any good inside attack on a bank isn't going to be foiled by cameras (or any real attack for that matter), so they don't care. This must do wonders for the morale of the tellers who really *do* care about "low loss" attacks (where the significant loss is measured in tellers).

Clive RobinsonAugust 14, 2017 5:01 PM

For those with thoughts on the hight of CCTV cameras.

At one time they were ludicrously expensive and fragile thus targets for thieves or vandals. Thus in the early days they put them up high to protect them.

There was also a later time when they did get put down lower, criminals would be able to reach them either directly or be able to spray paint or other substances over the lenses.

But you also have to ask who the cameras were actually designed to watch. It's not just casinos that have descovered that their staff need to be watched. In most cases you actually want the cameras at a high vantage point because it makes spoting stealing of money etc much easier to see.

But you also need to consider that likewise looking down so that seeing what an attacker/criminal is doing with their hands is more benificial for the prosecution than just seeing or trying to see a face that might be hidden by a mask etc.

AndrewAugust 14, 2017 9:20 PM

"There was also a later time when they did get put down lower, criminals would be able to reach them either directly or be able to spray paint or other substances over the lenses."
Their sensor also break on cheap commercial green lasers, the height doesn't matter in this case.

Thomas SewellAugust 15, 2017 4:14 AM

Interesting that it takes the teller about 20 seconds into the robbery (30s point on the video) to push the silent alarm button in order to notify the police. I guess she waited until he finished asking for money rather than just pushing it when he walked in with the very obvious pistol w/suppressor?

Still, it does seem incredibly stupid for her coworker to not lock herself in the office nearby, rather than just walking back and forth behind the robber until he threatens her. She did at least do a decent job of trying to stay out of him directly pointing the weapon at her by moving behind him, though.

The whole "I'm going to hold this by the barrel so I can use my right hand for other stuff" set of moves does boggle the mind...

LukasAugust 15, 2017 5:31 AM

>The robber seems very unsure of himself, and never really
>points the gun at anyone or even holds it properly.

That doesn't seem very weird to me. If you've screwed up your life to the point where bank robbery seems like a rational decision, you're probably not the best at doing things in general. Most real-world bank robbers probably aren't the hardened criminals you see in the movies. In fact, the person in the video seems unusually calm, given the situation.

>I say the robber is a she.

If this is a woman, she spent a lot of time learning how to move like a male.

k15August 15, 2017 2:20 PM

If coercion can turn even an honest person dishonest, should, and could, there be some standard way for the person to send out an alarm?

The one time I saw a clerk with nametag upside down, the police were entirely uninterested.

Dan HAugust 16, 2017 7:05 AM

You've heard of fake news, now we have fake bank robbery.

Around :15 the woman behind would clearly have seen the "robber" have a gun, yet walks past.

Around :21 the woman could see the "robber" move the gun from the hand to hand, yet just walks past.

Why does the woman outside continue pacing back and forth after seeing the "weapon?"

The woman outside is too calm.

The teller gives the "robber" a bit of money, then it seems the "robber" says more is needed, then a few more bucks, then the robber says more, and it repeats.

The "robber" more than once goes from holding the gun by the grip to holding it by the silencer. Nobody, nobody holds a gun from silencer attached to the barrel of the gun.

TMAugust 18, 2017 2:21 AM

"a security system failing for an unexpected reason"

Unexpected? How can this tactic be unexpected?

AnonAugust 20, 2017 9:44 AM

Looks to me like the bank staff are well trained.

Don't help, but don't get in the way, either. They're compliant, but slow. Remaining calm helped keep the robber calm.

Not all bank robbers want to hurt people - they just want to look sufficiently threatening to get what they want. Things only go bad when there are lots of people, and they either attack the robber, or the Police show up and the robber panics.

He doesn't even "grab" the woman his side of the glass - he holds her by the wrist rather than a more controlling aggressive grab by the arm, then lets her go again.

As for his actions being unexpected - I disagree.

Leave a comment

Allowed HTML: <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre>

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.