Bad Handwriting Foils Bank Heist

Accused bank robber Thomas Love may want to invest in a typewriter or a computer printer.

He was arrested Saturday shortly after he slipped a note to a teller at the WSFS Bank in New Castle, Del., demanding money, but no dye packs, police said. The teller handed him back the note.

“After receiving the note, the teller could not decipher what Love had written, and handed it back to him, and asked that he rewrite it so that it could be re-read,” said a news release from the Delaware State Police.

Love, either panicked or frustrated,  took back his note and left the bank with no money.

After he fled, the tellers conferred and determined that it had been a robbery attempt. They called the police and a description of the suspect was given to state troopers and New Castle county police. A police officer located Love and arrested him for attempted robbery.

Love was unarmed and no one was injured during the incident.


(Photo courtesy: Delaware State Police)

“We get plenty of notes passed, but none where they’ve been illegible,” said St. Paul Shavack, the Delaware State Police public information officer. “We found the note down the street in a trash can.”

“We had to call in the hieroglyphics expert,” he joked.

Shavack said the note could not be totally deciphered but said Love wrote something about “no dye packs,” referring to money banks sometimes give out during robberies where the stacks have a dye that detonates onto the money and the robber, making both easy to identify.

The bank has not released the note or any surveillance footage since they are considered evidence in the case.

The situation mirrors a comedic sequence in the Woody Allen movie “Take the Money and Run” where Allen’s character attempts to rob a bank but the teller cannot read his demand note and argues with Allen over the line, “I’m pointing a gun at you.”

“That looks like ‘gub.’ It doesn’t look like ‘gun,’” the teller says. Eventually a group of tellers confer, bickering over Allen’s heist note. He is eventually arrested and taken to jail.

Love, 40, has been charged with attempted robbery and is being held at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institute on a $2,000 bond.