Jeanne Trantel thought it was her lucky day when a Wall Street trader clerk called Stephen asked for her number at a bar one night 20 years ago.She couldn’t know that a spiralling career would turn her broker hubby into a bank robber, by the time 2003 came around.
According to the Mirror, Stephen lost his spot on a trading floor — where he made bets on crude oil futures — back in 2003 and became increasingly desperate.
Every morning he put on his suit and pretended he was going off to work.
His wife told the Mirror she noticed some changes. Her husband was losing weight; he wasn’t taking care of his appearance; his mood snapped frequently. But she couldn’t know that,
[A]fter struggling to pay the bills for two months – Stephen had an idea while sitting in the car park of a local library. He would later tell a US TV show: “I was just sitting in my truck looking out the window.
And I’m like: ‘I need money right now. What can I do where nobody’s gonna get hurt?’ I just came to this epiphany that there’s no other way. If I wanna hold on to everything, then I’ve got to steal money.”
So he began looking into how to rob a bank without being caught, discovering most bandits (80% he says) ended up handcuffed because of their getaway car. (Sidenote: Stephen’s dad was a cop.)
His tricky methods are described in The Mirror:
The cop’s son devised an effective plan – one that kept local police on their toes for months. Stephen focused on one bank at a time, choosing ones without a security guard. Observing that most blue-collar men and cops cash their cheques on a Wednesday, he avoided mid-week heists.
He also planned an escape route beforehand, making sure to park a few streets away. On the day of the robbery he wore a disguise – usually a baseball cap, a fake moustache and sunglasses. He slipped larger clothes over his own and planted a coffee cup next to a dumpster near his truck.
Stephen then entered the bank, selected who he deemed to be the “weakest teller” and walked to their counter before passing through a handwritten note emblazoned with: “Hey, I have a gun. No funny games. No alarm.”
He’d score his loot, then march to his truck, dump the over-clothes and pick up the coffee cup (to make it seem like he’d just been out and about, getting his morning coffee) and drive away.
The simple plan was so successful that he managed to rob 10 banks (and get $60,000) before he was caught — a fingerprint on one of the notes was his undoing. He was even dubbed “The Long Island Bank Robber,” and has since been the subject of an episode of CNBC’s American Greed.
He’s been in jail since 2004 and is set to be released next year.
The “Wanted” poster released by Nassau County police is below, via CNBC.