Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Hamfisted Heist and a Handful of Photos

The Hamfisted Heist story...

A couple of days ago there was a bank robbery in Faliraki. It was straight out of an old Woody Allen movie and the police had arrested the villain within three hours of the "job" having been done.

"Take the Money and Run" is one of my all-time favourite Woody Allen movies. I especially loved the scene where the culprit, Virgil Starkwell, played by Woody Allen, is casing the bank that he's going to rob. He hides a camera in a loaf of bread then goes into the bank and holds the loaf up to his eye like you would with a normal, undisguised camera. Plus, the lens is sticking out of the front of the loaf. It's a bit of a dead giveaway.

Well, this fella, a 30 year-old Greek from Kremasti, had sat on and off for a couple of days in the café across the road from the EuroBank branch that he intended to hold up, watching the comings and goings to plot the best time for his heist. While he sat there he was wearing a jacket and a cap.

On the day of the heist he nicked a motorbike and put on a blonde wig, then, wearing the same jacket and hat that he'd been wearing while rather suspiciously sitting in the café and gazing at the bank across the road, he entered the bank toting a gun and demanded that he be given lots of cash. He walked out with around €17,000 in used notes, got on the motorbike and tore off triumphantly.

Half an hour later he was sitting in his favourite kafeneion at Kremasti, not far from his home, still wearing the same cap and jacket. The only thing he'd dispensed with was the wig. Of course, the police had been called to the bank, interviewed various members of staff and had also asked in the café over the road if anyone had seen anything, which or course they had. They circulated the suspect's description and within a couple of hours the report came in that a man fitting the description of the suspect was flashing his money about in his local over in Kremasti. 

The heist was at around 11.00am. At around 2.00pm he had his collar felt, turned around to see a view full of policeman and was told that he was under arrest.

I wonder if he looked surprised. Somehow I think there's room for doubt.

The thing is, more news about this story breaking today, a day or two after the heist, says that he was very, very hard up and owed thousands on his electricity bill. If your neighbours know you're in such straightened circumstances, it may just be a tad suspicious to suddenly be waving wads of cash about just after the local TV has reported a bank robbery not too far away. Every café does have TV screens which are on most of the time after all.

He's also reported today as telling the boys in blue that he's deeply sorry, acted on the spur of the moment and "won't do it again guv'nor, honest." Well, that last bit may be colloquialised in a British fashion just a smidgin, but you get the picture. It is, however, hard to maintain that you acted on impulse when you've already been seen casing the bank for several days prior to the actual heist taking place. Plus, does he always carry a gun around with him then?

I do get the impression that he may well be spending some time as a guests of the government fairly soon. 

Now, of course, if his financial situation really is dire, or even if it isn't, isn't the issue here. The whole story just highlights the difference between crime on a Greek island and crime in a larger, mainland area or perhaps city. When I'm working in the summer doing the excursions, I often end up chatting about various aspects of life on a Greek island and how it all compares with the UK, Germany or perhaps (these days) Poland. On the subject of crime I always say that the crime levels on an island like this are significantly lower than in mainland urban areas, which applies as much to such areas in Greece as well as in other countries.

The bank robbery story is big news here precisely because it's a fairly rare occurrence. That said, it is something we are hearing more frequently than we did ten years ago. Cue talk about the financial crisis, austerity and all that stuff, eh?

And the Handful of Photos Story...

Changing the subject completely, here are a bunch of photos from the past few weeks. I may have posted one or two of these on my "JM Published Works" Facebook page, so you might just have seen them. Hope you like 'em anyway:

Glystra Beach 17th November.

Pefkos main beach, also 17th November.

Chairs and table at the local service station just outside of Gennadi village. 13th December.

The sea (from our garden) showing some "lumps" on 14th December.

St. Paul's Bay, Lindos, 11th December. 25ºC - nice eh?

A sight that gets a Rhodean resident much more excited than those scenic shots above, a full wood-store with the cold nights coming on.

The winter schedule settles around us imperceptibly. In the past couple of days the shepherd in the Seat Ibiza is back. His flock enjoys decimating the garden cuttings we throw across the lane, thus helping keep the environment clean and tidy. It IS all green waste, I should add.

Throws hands up and admits, "I'm as crazy about baby lambs as the next old softie."


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