The Geezer Bandit: Still at Large, Still a Mystery
Nineveh Westin Gets the Scoop!
Nineveh: Good evening. This is Nineveh Westin for Deep Six News. One of the stories that has captivated the nation over the last few years is that of the Geezer Bandit, the elderly gentleman who is responsible for a string of bank heists in the San Diego area beginning in 2009. There was a lot of speculation about the Geezer Bandit, both by authorities and in the media. back when his crime spree was still fresh in everyone’s mind.
The Geezer Bandit’s last robbery was in December of 2011, 5 full years ago. He’s not been apprehended, and he’s not held up another bank. Speculation has died down, but the mystery surrounding the man and his fabled run are just as intense as ever. How did he do it? How did he get away with it? Is he really elderly, or is he wearing an elaborate disguise? What possesses a man in his eighties to suddenly embark on a career of dangerous felonies? And, perhaps most curious of all, where has he been since then? Did he give up his life of crime? Did he flee the country? Did he die?
Tonight we hope to get the answers to these questions and more. Deep 6 News has scored an exclusive interview with the Geezer Bandit. I can’t tell you how we did this. What I can tell you is that the Geezer Bandit only agreed to be interviewed if we made significant concessions to maintain the security of his identity. I am here at an undisclosed location, one chosen by the Bandit himself, alone with a single cameraman, proving once again that Deep 6 News gets in over its head to bring you coverage that’s out of your depth. Ladies and gentlemen . . . the Geezer Bandit.
Nineveh: Good evening, Mr. Geezer.
Geezer: Hello, Nineveh.
Nineveh: Mr. Geezer, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get right to it. The FBI has characterized you as a dangerous armed robber. Even though you haven’t shot anyone, or even fired a weapon, they maintain that you have terrorized and traumatized the tellers of the banks that you robbed to the extent that some of them will require counseling or even therapy. How do you respond?
Geezer: Nineveh, that’s just ridiculous. I’m 83 years old. I’ve got arthritis, cataracts, fallen arches, and high blood pressure. I can’t remember the last time I had an honest erection, and I don’t know if the problem is with my memory or with my libido. The last time anybody considered me dangerous was in 1999.
Nineveh: I see. And what was it that made you dangerous in 1999?
Geezer: That’s the year my wife told me I had to quit driving. She said if I didn’t quit, it was just a matter of time until I killed someone.
Nineveh: I see, and did you quit?
Geezer: Well, I cut down a lot. I quit driving at night, and I try to avoid heavy traffic. I had noticed that I had the most trouble with my driving when I was talking or listening to the radio. I’m not a very good multi-tasker it seems. So I turned the radio off and quit listening to my wife. So far I haven’t had any accidents…knock wood.
Nineveh: And does you wife still want you to quit driving?
Geezer: I don’t really know. Like I said, I quit listening to her.
Nineveh: What about the bank robberies? Don’t you think they’re dangerous?
Geezer: Maybe to me. Look, the authorities have gotten so many things wrong about me, it’s a wonder they ever catch anybody at all. One day they’ll say I’m 6 feet tall and 200 lbs. The next they’ll say it’s possible I’m actually a woman because I’m not very big. They say I’m between 60 and 70 years old on their wanted poster, right under two pictures of me that look like I’ve just escaped from the old folks home. Honestly if I’d looked this bad at 70, I would have chucked it all in then. Now they’re saying I’m not old at all because I sprinted across the parking lot after they tried to blow me up with a dye pack. Let me tell you, an explosion is a real motivating force when it comes to running away from one. Besides that surveillance tape snaps a frame every 5 seconds or something, so it looks like your running when they play it in real time, but you’re actually limping along like the old man you are. That kind of security footage would make Stephen Hawking look like he had booster rockets on his wheelchair.
Nineveh: So, why do you do it? What makes a respectable elderly gentleman want to rob banks?
Geezer: Isn’t it obvious? I need the money.
Nineveh: Really? The authorities won’t say how much you’ve gotten away with so far. After 13 banks it must be quite a haul.
Geezer: Not at all. It’s not like I’m emptying out the vaults. I only hit one teller at each bank. The most I can hope for is a few grand per job. That’s why I have to keep coming back every month or so. I’m making less robbing banks than I get from my social security.
Nineveh: You’re drawing social security? Wow! It never would have occurred to me that you were drawing retirement.
Geezer: I don’t know why not. Look at me. Like I said. I’m 83. I’ve been retired since 1992.
Nineveh: Okay. Help me out here. You say you’ve been retired since 1992, and you say you started robbing banks because you need the money, but you didn’t start doing bank jobs until sometime in 2009. Is that right?
Geezer: Yep, that’s right. I just can’t live on my social security checks.
Nineveh: But you could before 2009. Is that what you’re saying?
Geezer: Well before that I didn’t have to live on just social security. I had a pretty good retirement fund built up when I retired. I was getting on fairly well up until the economy started going south in 2007 and 8. By 2009 what I’d had was mostly gone.
Nineveh: You mean to tell me that you lost your retirement when the economy collapsed?
Geezer: I wouldn’t say I lost it. I know exactly where it is.
Nineveh: You do?
Geezer: Sure. The banks got it. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t lost. It was stolen.
Nineveh: Whoa. The banks got it? Is that what you’re doing—trying to get your retirement money back from the banks?
Geezer: Well, that’s an interesting thought, but they don’t really have it anymore. They paid it out in bonuses to their executives and traders. Those guys with the gigantic houses out on Long Island and in Marina Del Mar, the guys who have emaciated wives with impossible breast implants who can’t smile anymore because of all the botox injections—those guys have my money.
Nineveh: That’s a pretty serious charge. Can you prove that?
Geezer: If I could prove it I wouldn’t be robbing banks, but just because they can’t be prosecuted doesn’t mean it’s not true. The banks have overseen a massive transfer of wealth from what used to be the middle class into the accounts of a handful of thieves and pirates, and the government let them do it.
Nineveh: Seriously, Mr. Geezer, you don’t expect us to believe that. If it’s really as you say, the government would have stepped in and put a stop to it.
Geezer: Why would they? The agencies that are supposed to protect us from scams and piracy are run by con-men and pirates on leave from the same banks they regulate. The government hasn’t stopped them yet, and it’s not likely to the next time they wind us up to fleece us.
Nineveh: I have to say, Mr. Geezer, that you seem kind of upset about this, even though at the beginning of this interview you said you were too old to get worked up about things anymore. Isn’t this really why you’re doing what you do—you’re taking revenge on the banks because you think they took your money?
Geezer: Look, Nineveh, I can’t deny that that would be an attractive proposition, but I don’t see how I could begin to get back what they took. Like I already said, I rob banks for the money I need to live on. I’m not getting very much. I’m not even getting back what I used to have. I’m just keeping my head above water.
Nineveh: But what if you get caught? You have to admit you’ve been pretty lucky so far. The police are looking for you. The FBI is looking for you. Your picture is all over the news and the Internet.
Geezer: I know. Can you believe they’re now saying I’m a young guy wearing an elaborate disguise? Hell, you can see the hairs growing out of my ears. Elaborate disguise? I bought those hats at a consignment shop. Cost me about three dollars apiece.
Nineveh: That’s all very interesting, but you still haven’t answered my question. What if you get caught?
Geezer: Think about it. How much worse can things get for me? I go to jail, I get three squares a day, a roof over my head, and free medical care. I quit robbing banks, and I’ll be living in a refrigerator box in an alley somewhere. I look at getting caught like a reasonably good retirement plan—certainly better than the one I used to have. No one can steal it from me.
Nineveh: Well you could get shot and killed too. I mean, after all, you’re carrying a gun.
Geezer: Just an occupational hazard I guess. I’ve found that it’s really hard to get people to give you money if you’re not carrying a gun…unless you’re a bank that is.
Nineveh: There’s been a lot of talk in the media recently about hand guns and oversized ammo clips. What kind of gun do you carry?
Geezer: It’s a 9 millimeter Glock.
Nineveh: That’s a favorite hand gun among gangstas, isn’t it?
Geezer: I don’t know about that. It’s fairly small. It’s light and easy to carry. I don’t need a canon. I don’t want to shoot anybody. I’m standing across the counter from a teller—usually it’s a woman—all I need to do is convince them to give me the money. I start shooting the place up, my career’s gonna be over pretty quick.
Nineveh: You indicated that you get your clothes from a thrift shop. Where did you get the Glock?
Geezer: That’s a pretty interesting story actually. I took it off a guy that was trying to rob me.
Nineveh: You’re not serious?
Geezer: Absolutely. Guy was just a kid—maybe 19 or 20. Had one of those flat brim baseball hats on sideways, way too big for his head, kept sliding down over his eyes. And then he had these huge pants on, crotch down around his knees. He had to hold them up with one hand. He comes out of an alley holding that gun sideways. Probably saw that in a movie or something. Anyway he tells me to give him my money, and I tell him I don’t have any, and he starts to get agitated. I kept circling around him, away from where he was pointing the gun. He kept spinning after me to keep the gun pointed in my face. When his hat slipped down over his eyes, I just reached in and snatched the gun. He wouldn’t let go, so I pushed his hand up over my head so he couldn’t shoot me. He reached up with his other hand to try to snatch it back, but then his pants fell down around his ankles. That’s when I gave him a knee in the crotch. He let go pretty quick after that. Ran off, and it was just about the funniest thing I ever saw, him scrambling backwards and trying to pull his pants up at the same time. I mean really, these guys want to be bad-asses, they ought to put a little more thought into their wardrobe choices.
Nineveh: That’s incredible. Weren’t you scared?
Geezer: Of course I was scared, but I didn’t see where I had a lot of choices just then.
Nineveh: And you said you weren’t dangerous.
Geezer: Well I’m not really . . . a little more dangerous than that kid maybe, but that’s not saying much when you think about it. Punk let an 80-year-old man take a gun away from him with his bare hands. Probably won’t be joining up with the Marines or the Navy Seals anytime soon.
Nineveh: Getting back to your bank robberies, how are you getting away with it? How do you make your escape? Do you have a getaway car, an accomplice, a driver?
Geezer: You don’t really expect me to answer that, do you?
Nineveh: People want to know.
Geezer: Of course they do, especially the FBI.
Nineveh: Well, you make a good point. It’s just that I kind of have this idea of you driving off from the scene in a hybrid car…I don’t know, a Prius or something. How about it? Can you at least confirm that you are a green bank robber?
Geezer: That’s funny, Nineveh, but think about it. Those hybrid cars are pretty expensive for a guy has to buy his clothes second hand. Besides, have you ever driven one of those things? By the time I got a Prius from zero to sixty I would be eligible for parole.
Nineveh: So you use a high-performance car then?
Geezer: I didn’t say that. They’re expensive too, and premium gas is pushing $4 a gallon. Even bank robbers have to keep their overhead down these days. Let’s leave the hybrids and the Italian sports cars to the pirates and thieves. At least that way we’ll be able to see them coming.
Nineveh: You keep referring to the bankers as thieves, like you’re making some kind of moral judgment, but you’re a thief as well, are you not?
Geezer: Believe me, the irony is not lost on me, but it’s a question of scale. I’ve robbed 13 banks in two years, but I still haven’t taken as much in total as Jamie Dimon at J.P. Morgan or Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman get for talking on their phones for a couple of hours. Honestly, I don’t think I’m in the same league. I’m pretty sure they would agree with me, but probably not for the same reason. I may have gotten famous, or infamous, but I wouldn’t say I’m a real big success, would you?
Nineveh: Since you mentioned it, there is the question of your newfound fame. You seem to have struck a chord with people. There are two FaceBook pages about you, untold Tweets, a line of Geezer Bandit clothing. Any thoughts on what this all means and why it seems to resonate with the average guy on the street.
Geezer: If you must know, it kind of pisses me off.
Nineveh: How so?
Geezer: Bank robbers need anonymity. Being famous is putting a pretty serious strain on my ability to get in and out of a bank without being noticed. Hell it’s probably hurt a lot of people. As soon as somebody over 60 walks into a bank you gotta think all the tellers are ducking and hiding or going on break. Your mama probably has a hard time getting service at her bank since I got my face pasted all over the Internet. Not that it was that easy for her before that. Banks have pretty much gotten out of the service business. Every little thing they do, they have to get a fee. I even heard they want to start charging a fee for talking to a live person. Please, you tell me who the real thieves are.
Nineveh: Do you think you’re a sympathetic character?
Geezer: Everybody’s got their cross to bear. Life’s not easy. It never was, and it has gotten a lot harder for most of us. Folks may identify with my problems, but that doesn’t mean they want to be me. Even the people who seem sympathetic to me are working their own angles. Those guys selling Geezer Bandit t-shirts and hats, you think they’re sending me a percentage of the profits? Hell no. I take all the risks, and they’re making money off it.
Nineveh: What’s next for you, Mr. Geezer. It’s been nearly 5 years since your last bank robbery. Are you out of the business now? Have you turned to something else?
Geezer: Well, that last one was a doozie I’d have to say. I asked that woman, very nicely I thought, don’t give me a dye pack. But she did. I should have expected it, I guess. Customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket, if you ask me. You can’t depend on somebody in the customer service field to honor a simple request anymore. Anyway, I figured if they’re going to try to blow me up, I’m going to have to figure out another way to supplement my income.
Nineveh: And have you?
Geezer: Yes. I’m a bank security guard now. I stand in the lobby with a taser to deter guys like myself who come in to rob the place. The banks actually hire old guys like me because they don’t have to pay us very much. We’re just there to make their customers feel safe. It’s the tellers who actually are supposed to take out the would-be robbers with those dye packs. So what I do is, I see a probable robber come in (you can tell who they are because you can’t see their faces) and I tell ’em which teller to avoid so’s they can make a clean getaway. Then we meet up later and I get a little cut of their action. Works out a lot better for me. I haven’t been blown up once in five years.
Nineveh: Oh, I see. Well…it certainly has been interesting talking to you, Mr. Geezer, but I’m afraid that’s all the time we have. Thank you for giving us a little glimpse under the flat cap so to speak. I know everyone has been just dying to know what you’re really like.
Geezer: You’re welcome. It was a pleasure talking to you as well, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on a few issues.
Nineveh: Yes, thanks again, and good luck to you, Mr. Geezer, as your incredible story continues to unfold. Well there you have it folks, the Geezer Bandit, the man who has captured the minds and hearts of much of America and the undivided attention of the authorities. Will he continue to elude capture? Will he rob another bank? Will he ultimately be killed in a hail of gunfire? Only time will tell, but now, thanks to this exclusive interview, you have a more complete picture of what this fascinating man is really all about. This has been Nineveh Westin for Deep Six News. We’re in over our heads . . . and you’re along for the ride!
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