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William Scott Scurlock, The Hollywood Bank Robber, and The End Of The Dream

William Scott Scurlock


Bank Robbery 101

Wednesday, November 27, 1996, the day before Thanksgiving; stormy weather-perfect. Seafirst National Bank, the Lake City Branch, Seattle, Washington; eighteen minutes till closing time. Everyone left inside is either waiting to go home, or so intent on their errands that they are unable to pay attention to anything outside their own head, once again-perfect.

The Bank's automatic cameras click away at everyone entering, another shows the bored and impatient customers waiting to see a teller, and yet another scans the entire bank, and there is a fourth camera too-aimed at an island in the center of the lobby. Precision is the way, and each frame of each film tells exactly which camera, by it's number, the date, and the time to the second.

Camera 1-06 records the time at 5:42:13 p.m. the same instant that he walked in the door, he is utterly bizarre: hooded raincoat, baseball cap, his cheap trademark Converse shoes, jutting chin, long grey hair; and yet he moved like a gazelle. Those that see him are startled by his appearance, they know something is unnatural, but they struggle to politely think of what exactly it is-the tellers, however, know all too well. His stride is so confident that it's arrogant, his face is simply not normal.

Nobody saw his trademark pistol at first either, but the tellers already knew what it was going to look like. Surely the atmosphere changed, and uneasiness was transfering, or diffusing throughout the area. There is another strange looking man, and this one is much, much larger-maybe his gloves should have told them something.

Nobody ever remembers exactly what such as these looked like later-their memories are clouded by the adrenaline rush.

"Step back, and stay away from the counter, this is a robbery."

but of course. . . . .

The black pistol has been pulled.

"I'm serious, if you are nervous please step out of the line and sit down!"

The first, and smaller man is in charge-he herds the sheep where he wishes them to go-though he's got a gun, he doesn't use it to threaten anyone. The threat is implied. The second, larger man is incredibly polite, women are addressed as "Ma'am." What is fascinating and strange is how unworried they are, the doors to the front are still unlocked even.

"Who is the Vault Teller?"

"I don't want any bait bills, or dye packs, got it?"

The large man is left in control of the loby, and after some time the smaller man reappears, having returned from the vault-though he appears old, he leaps over the counter with a huge duffle bag full of cash.

"Did you hear anything?" He is speaking into a walkie talkie.

And then, they were just gone! In less than fifteen minutes they carried away more money than most of us will make in our lifetimes! But this was the TWENTIETH bank robbery for William Scott Scurlock. The Seattle PD, the Puget Sound Violent Crimes Task Force, and the FBI were utterly frustrated, and clueless as to who the two were, and was there a third on the other end of the walkie talkie? Or was that some sort of diversion??? They knew nothing after TWENTY bank robberies in the area. They didn't know any more about who they were than who they weren't!