Robbing is like 'having sex while taking the SATs', says 'retired robber' in tell-all conversation
Flix Saturday, June 13, 2015 - 05:30
Clayton Ross Tumey, a "retired bank robber", recently conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session "to tell the better part of his story" to people. A convicted bank robber, Tumey carried out a slew of robberies in several banks in 2005 and 2006 in the US. He turned himself in to the police "out of the blue" five months after his last robbery and confessed to his crimes. He served around four years in prison and is now said to be writing a book on his life. During the session, which has received close to 6,000 comments till now, Tumey answered a volley of questions about his life and choices- ranging from why he did what he did to how he did it and why he ultimately called it quits. Here are some of the questions he answered. (The language of the text has been retained as it is, with minor editing so as to clarify certain remarks made by both Tumey and other Reddit users.) Can you discuss your MO? Sure. Walked in the bank and waited in line like a regular customer. Whichever teller was available to help me is the one I robbed. I simply walked up to them when it was my turn to be helped, and I told them -- usually via handwritten instructions on an envelope- to give me their $50s and $100s. What made you get into bank robbery and what made you turn yourself in? Bank robbery is the real American Dream. We make movies about it, and as long as innocent people aren't hurt or killed, our society loves bank robbers. Also, it seemed like a worthy challenge. I thought it would be quite an accomplishment if I could solve the puzzle and figure out how to get away with it. I always figured prison was in the cards for me -- even before I was doing crime -- so it made sense to turn myself in and get it over with, but most of all, I became a father and wanted to just do my time while my son was a baby instead of the cops accidentally figuring out who I was and taking me to jail when my son was older. How much planing did you do before robbing a bank? I researched for about five or six months prior to my first one. I studied mostly the things that people did to get caught, and I just tried to plan around those things. It's hard to know how people get away since those details rarely make it to the news, but studying how people get caught was incredibly helpful in knowing what to avoid. Once I did my first bank, very little planning was needed for subsequent banks. I never really scoped out a particularly location other than to make sure there was parking that was out of view from the bank. What's the most memorable thing that someone has said to you while you were bank robbing? One teller skimped out on me and didn't give me all I had asked for, and I told her, "You can do better than that." She just shrugged -- palms up like a little kid -- and said, "That's all I got." Pretty ballsy on her part. Would you have harmed someone if you found yourself in a position between that and getting caught? That depends on the situation. If it was just some random guy trying to be a hero, I would have probably gone to any extreme necessary to get away because that's a challenge. On the other hand, if it was a cop or a security guard of some sort, I would have probably let them win. Probably. So do you keep your personal money in a bank? If so, which bank? Lmao. Actually, yes. And they know about my criminal history because I went to high school with one of the girls that works at my bank. I keep a minimal amount of money in the bank for obvious reasons -- usually less than a thousand bucks or so. I actually think my account is pretty close to zero for now. Bank of Texas. Did you ever actually feel guilty about anything you did? I just want to understand your reasoning. I never felt guilty because I didn't attack or assault anyone. Under the circumstances, I was as nice as I could possibly be to the bank employees because I did feel a little sympathy for them. I certainly don't regret the experience of going to prison and finding myself. Did you ever feel that the concept of stealing money was wrong? As for me, I think morality is very subjective. I wouldn't steal from an individual person because I'm not comfortable with that. The banks, however, consider this kind of theft an acceptable loss, so that was okay with me being part of the loss that they consider acceptable. Video of GO4VmA-P4kI How was the prison experience? Shitty and awesome. It was like dying, except without the funeral. I was removed from everyone else's life just as much as they were removed from mine. Mail was the only way I connected with my family and friends. Prison is lonely and depressing, but it's also a great place to really work on yourself if that's what you want to do. Most men and women waste that opportunity. Thankfully, I didn't. When you were robbing a bank was it intense or were you calm the entire time? While robbing, I was calm and controlled, but it was incredibly intense at the same time. It's like having sex while taking the SATs. You have to focus on both 100% even though that's not totally possible, and that's why it's so rewarding when it works. How many banks did you end up robbing? I eventually stopped counting. I originally fessed up to one bank, but they didn't believe me, so I gave them two more. I did time for those three. Was it just for the money or something more than that? It was for everything but the money. It was fun, exciting, and addictive. How was it the first time? I'd imagine it would be pretty scary. How did the police react when you turned yourself in? It was scary the first time I tried, but I left and didn't do it. I returned the next day and wasn't scared. It's not really something you can do if you're afraid. Fear gets in the way of clear thinking. The police were very professional. They sent the SWAT team to the hotel where I told them to come get me, so that was pretty shit-your-pants scary, but they didn't fuck me up or anything. Once I was cuffed and cleared and all that crap, they all talked to me like I was a rock star or something. It was really strange. They asked "why" and all that stuff, but it wasn't like the cop style of "why." It was more like a fascinated curiosity. What made you want to do this AMA? Is it pride, warning? Ultimately, my purpose is to just tell the better part of my story about how I'm not the guy I used to be and that it's never too late to get your shit together and put your head on straight. I was a real piece of shit once upon a time, but I'm not anymore. I'm very happy with who I've become, and I'll do anything possible to reach those who are walking down the path that I walked down a decade ago. So if it's just Q&A to a thousand people and I still reach that one person, then that's good with me.