Analysis: Bank robbery not so profitable, statistically

If local legacy and national statistics are any indication, bank robbery isn't a wise career choice.

Statistics show it's likely you will be caught and sent to prison. You won't get a lot of money. And should you choose to use a weapon and the police or some Charles Bronson/Clint Eastwood make-my-day types show up, the odds of getting killed are close to what Vegas bookmakers call a sure thing.

Of the 13 deaths recorded during 5,000 U.S. bank robberies in 2011, 10 fatalities were the robbers, according to the latest FBI statistics.

If facing the final curtain isn't deterrent enough, there's the whole FBI thing. It is a federal crime to rob a bank. Guys in suits with more resources than you can fathom will be on your trail almost from the moment you sprint out the door.

The FBI and Clovis police are still hunting a masked robber in a green hoodie who opted for foot power to race out of a New Mexico Bank and Trust Branch on Thursday. He disappeared into the obscurity of the surrounding neighborhood.

Escaped, perhaps, for now. It doesn't necessarily mean he won't get caught.

Indeed, it took two years to nail the last person who robbed the same bank branch in 2006, one of two most recent bank heists in the area. All four of the suspects in the other — the now infamous Melrose Spider Man comic caper — are either serving time or facing trial.

Last week's robbery was the second in six years for the NMB&T on North Main. Frank Lasky IV was the first to knock over the bank branch, located a tempting few steps from the frosty delights of a nearby Dairy Queen.

Donning his girlfriend's favorite blond wig and a pair of smoky sunglasses, Lasky strolled into the bank on a searing July 14, 2006, looking like Marilyn Monroe after a long night. Lasky announced he had a bomb, demanded cash and, as the police say, fled on foot.

Lasky was last seen running north of the bank, unbuttoning his shirt in a race for freedom and a new-found fortune police only described as "an undisclosed amount of cash."

Actually, the latest FBI statistics reveal the take on such high-risk heists isn't all the much.

The national average is around $4,300. That's largely because most bank robbers — 4,870 times in 5,014 total robberies — demand cash at a teller window and don't bother with a vault, where the big money might be stashed. Bank robberies for most are a hurry-up affair. Get in; get out.

Lasky would later tell his girlfriend it was "just like a piece of cake."

Two years later, Lasky's girlfriend threw him under the bus. For reasons not clear, she called police and recounted Lasky's account of the caper.

District Attorney Matt Chandler couldn't recall when asked Friday why Lasky's girlfriend ratted him out.

Lasky is now serving a 21-year sentence in state prison.

Four years after Lasky's failure to succeed, a foursome from Tucumcari allegedly decided they would try to beat the odds at more isolated American Heritage Bank in Melrose.

They weren't counting on bank CEO Gordon Morris' fiduciary feelings. They also apparently forgot to bring the usual note. They used what was available.

Sporting baseball caps and wearing bandanas to cover their faces, they entered the bank in April 2010 armed with a pellet gun, a machete, a baseball bat and a Spider Man comic book. One locked the front door while another stuck the comic book on the glass with a misspelled scrawling that read "closed intil further notice."

A teller handed them bait money — marked cash banks keep on hand for just such occasions — and the four fled, leaving the potential collector's comic and solid evidence still affixed on the glass door.

Morris wasn't far behind. He jumped into his car and began chasing almost as soon as they tore out of the parking lot.

The chase hit speeds just short of 100 mph, Morris to be forgiven later for talking on his cell phone while driving.

It was a scene straight out of the movie "Bullitt," spelled correctly.

Aided by Morris' mobile instructions, Curry County Sheriff's deputies set up a road block on N.M. 209. The four stopped and surrendered, as police say, without incident.

Marcos Maestas, 20, Patrick Quintana, 25, Juana Griego, 19, and Santos Preciado, 18, were all charged. All but Maestas have pleaded out and are serving prison time.

Maestas, whose attorney says is mentally retarded, has been ruled competent to stand trial. On Friday, District Judge Drew Tatum tossed Maestas' request to dump the charges for lack of a speedy trial, ruling delays over the past three years were reasonable.

Maestas is scheduled for trial June 18.

Fast facts from the FBI's latest statistics:


Total loot taken: $38 million

Total banks looted: 5,014

Preferred day: Friday — 1,042 robberies

Preferred location: Commercial districts — 3,326

Preferred community: Metropolitan — 2,336 (Small cities — 1,734)

Deaths: 13 (10 were prepetrator)

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