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Expensive Bonfire  In the trial of six men charged with attempting Britain's biggest cash robbery, prosecuting lawyer Guy Boney told the court that the gang forced an armored car carrying $18.2 million to be driven to a wooded area, then used high-powered torches to open it. But, Boney noted, the torches also set off "a horrendously expensive bonfire" that turned up to $2.4 million into ashes and caused the men to flee.
Check  In Arlington, Virginia, a man presented a check for $1,450 to a bank teller, who told him to wait for approval and took the check to Assistant Vice President Melinda Babson. She knew the woman whose check it was but didn't recognize the signature, so she called her. The woman said she had not written the check, which Babson then copied and faxed to her. The whole time, the unsuspecting suspect waited calmly, sipping a cup of coffee, according to Senior Vice President Andrew Flott who noted after police arrived and arrested the man, "He was a knucklehead for not leaving." Even if he had left, the teller had his driver's license, which he had given her for identification with the check.
Wrong Bank  Two gunmen wearing ski masks burst into the Old Colony Credit Bureau in Plymouth, Massachusetts, ordered the owner and three other workers to lie on the floor, then ransacked the office. They fled with a small amount of cash and some jewelry. Police were baffled why the robbers would target Old Colony, which compiles credit reports and keeps little cash on hand, although some officials speculated that the holdup was a botched bank robbery, with the robbers mistaking the credit bureau for a credit union.
Lethal Weapon  Carl Rankin, 35, was charged with holding up a store near Trenton, New Jersey, using a cup of hot coffee as a weapon. Police said Rankin threw the coffee at a convenience store clerk, then reached into the cash register.
Another Bank Robbery  In April, 1995, a gunman in Columbia, Tennessee, announced a bank robbery, but the bank had closed the previous August. "He walked in here and said, 'Give me your money,' and I laughed," said Lea Ables, who works for the insurance company that moved into the office. "I didn't think he was serious at first. He then sort of looked funny and asked, 'This isn't a bank anymore?'" He left after robbing two workers of $127.
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