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Scared Money by Mark Anthony Given

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. -Honore de Balza

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            Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. -Honore de Balza
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HOW MANY BANKS did I have to rob with my trusty Bic Pen at ten grand a pop before I stopped being scared? Seventy-Five banks in a dozen jurisdiction estimated two and a half million dollars in less than two years... For sentencing purposes, the federal courts count the total of the checks I deposited, not the amount I withdrew...  I didn't matter to me.  When I got to federal prison and began researching my Restitution issue I discovered that the punishment for federal bank fraud changed from five (5) years to Twenty (20)!!! Within months of my last offense and arrest...  Did I tell you I was born with a Star on my Ass?

THE VERY FEW times I robbed a bank with a pretty face and a smile, that I wasn't scared was when I brought my best friend with me and I showed him how to do it for fifty percent of every dollar he made.  And he stuck to it until he went off on his own.  Anway, the anticipation is the hardest part so we worked out this little "All's Well on the Western Front," signal.  I would always park several businesses away but still able to see him come out the door.  His name is Bruce and I wrote about him several times, Bustin Scripts, Dope Sick Angel, etc., As soon as he came through the door where he knew I was watching, he knew not to run to the car if something went wrong.  We had that worked out too.  He would usually be smiling like someone just handed him a fresh thousand dollars; any way you want it, and told him to "Y'all Hurry On Back Now 'Whenever you need more....'"  He would reach up and rub his ear for a few seconds.  I wasn't scared a bit.  He knew I would bail him right out.  They would have to torture him to get my name.  Almost as easy as doing the Drive Up Teller at the lunch hour with a fresh account with a fat dollar amount, never a problem with it, and they didn't even know it was missing.  Bank to bank until I get ten grand or my highly polished criminal radar goes off.  I smell trouble before it got out of bed this morning.
WHEN I WAS A KID in New York living on my own at fifteen in a rooming house for $25 a week I cooked steak on a portable space heater and aluminum foil in the winter.  I had a beautiful little girlfriend who stuck to me like a little puppy everywhere I went. She ran away from home to live with me and her mother never even reported her missing.  She was dating my older brother;  that's another story.  I'm trying to figure out how I got up every morning and went to work breaking into apartments like it was my occupation?  Nevermind the balls it takes, but the taxing of the Soul every day; not because I felt bad about it:  But because I didn't feel bad about it.... Now you know that ain't right.
          I DON'T KNOW why I didn't feel bad about it and probably comports to DSM-II clinicians manual for antisocial and probably more balls than brains or both...  I do know how I did it though.  After I learned that the success rate for apprehending "Random" burglaries, where you have absolutely no connection to the place whatsoever, went to 90%, that's what I started to do.  I'd just follow my senses, walk into the large turn of the century homes that had been turned into seven or eight apartments, listen, knock on a door and maybe come back in a few minutes or if I sensed the building was empty, I'd slip the lock; never break it.  If the hinges were outside where they are not supposed to be, I'd knock the pins out and take the door off.  Push in air conditioners is always the easiest...

THEN AFTER GREAT fanfare, you get in there and they haven't got nothing to steal...Cash, drugs, jewelry, and the artwork is all I wanted.  I knew better than try and pawn something, even with a fake ID.  I have one image from then that constantly appears in my mind all these years later.  Small apartment in a big house turned into apartments, ten o'clock in the morning, slipped something between the door and frame walked in after a quick search of nothing I set down at a little roll top desk and started flipping thru stuff without disturbing anything.  I run across a box of envelopes and pulled one out at random and it had a Fifty Dollar Bill in it....

The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.-George Bernard Shaw

            I OPENED ANOTHER and another and was up to three-hundred dollars tucked away for a rainy burglar.  Three-Hundred Dollars!!  My biggest score ever!! I made sure everything looked untouched and backed out of there locking the door behind me.  I get back to my hole in the wall at Woodlawn and Monroe Avenue in Rochester, it's probably still there, just like I left it.  I get out the money and count it again just to look at it and it occurred to me, "Why not take the whole box of envelopes? There were over a hundred?"
           IT WAS ONLY a couple blocks away, I get over there, slip the lock, I'm sitting there going thru the envelopes again and everyone had some odd amount of brand new bills.  No writing, brand new envelopes.  I open a few more drawers and find a big sack of Panama Jack Marijuana, looked like a personal bag of some of the best-looking bud I'd ever seen.
"Boom, Boom, Boom!!!"
   I hear banging in the hallway, I'm on the second floor of the apartment door swings open they will see me just ten or fifteen feet away sitting looking right at them.  I fucking froze,  I'd be caught red handed.  The way these apartments are carved out windows are in odd places and walls turning one big room into two small ones, etc.  Sound like someone was dragging a body up the stairs banging into everything grunting and groaning, I just sit there and started looking rolling papers.. least I'll go to jail with a good buzz on!!
To be continued...
11:50 AM 7/18/2017











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