Home / Crime / Bank teller foils holdup, nabs suspect — loses job

Bank teller foils holdup, nabs suspect — loses job

Alongside our recent what not to wear for a bank robbery, here's what not to do in a bank robbery.

A Seattle bank teller who knocked a would-be robber to the ground on Tuesday was fired from his job on Thursday. Jim Nicholson said he knew he was breaking bank policy but wanted to stop the man before he hit other banks.

Jim Nicholson knew he should have just handed over the cash when he was asked but when the thin man in a beanie cap, dark clothing and sunglasses pushed a black backpack across the bank counter and demanded money, Nicholson says his instincts took over.

When the man came into the bank dressed in a knit cap on one of the hottest days of the year, Nicholson says he was immediately uneasy.

The suspicious-looking man walked in and out of the bank, then got in the teller line, then stepped out of line.

When he finally approached the counter, he walked toward Nicholson and said, "This is a ransom, fill the bag with money."

Hearing the word "ransom," Nicholson stopped for a second and asked to see the man's gun.

The man said, "It's a verbal ransom."

So, instead of quickly complying with the robber’s demands as per the bank’s policy, Nicholson threw the bag to the floor, lunged toward the robber and demanded to see a weapon.

"My intent was to grab his glasses off his face," Nicholson said.

Fortunately for Nicholson, the man wasn't armed.  Instead, surprised, the would-be bank robber backed up and bolted for the door. 

Nicholson followed and chased the man for several blocks before knocking him to the ground with the help of a passer-by.  He then held him until police arrived.

That was Tuesday.

On Thursday, Nicholson was fired.

In a state that consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in bank robberies, what Nicholson did was not only ill-advised, according to police and the FBI, it was all but unheard of.

Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door as quickly as possible and are advised against being a hero over money that's federally insured.

Nicholson says he gets that. To a point.

"They tell us that we're just supposed to comply, but my instincts kicked in and I did what's best to stop the guy," said Nicholson. "I thought if I let him go he would rob more banks and cause more problems."

Edited from the Seattle Times

Message: Let Bank Robbers Rob!


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About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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