The day the tool truck became a get away truck

Did you hear the one about the bank robber who made his getaway in a tool truck? It’s a story that I tell because I know it well. It was my truck. What’s more, I was driving it. But I wasn’t a victim of a carjacking, nor was I an accomplice in the crime. There was never even a tense moment while this “tool truck getaway” was in progress.

Here’s what happened.

One day, one of my customers brought me some tools he wanted to return because he was leaving the repair business. I offered to take the tools back and resell them and split the profits with him. He was fine with this arrangement.


One day, he just disappeared

That was the last I saw of him for a while. Over the next several weeks, I managed to resell all the tools he had returned to me. But since he left his job, I didn’t know where to find him to pay him his share of the sales. The phone number he gave me wasn’t working.

One morning, I stopped at a service station and there he was, walking to the station. I happened to be carrying cash with me and I told him I had his money for him. As I reached into my pocket to get his money, he told me to stop. Instead of taking his money, he said he needed some tools for his own personal use, and he would rather I let him buy some tools using his proceeds.

I had no problem with this, so we went into my truck and he bought a hammer, a hacksaw and some other items.

I also noticed there were police cars parked at a bus depot across the street. I didn’t know why they were gathered at the bus depot, but I didn’t pay any special attention to them.


A request for a ride home

My former customer then asked me if I could give him a ride home. His house wasn’t far away. It was a hot day and he had a lot of tools to carry, so I obliged and dropped him off at his house.

That was the last I saw of him. But a week later, I returned to the service station where I had run into him. A young technician there asked me if I knew the guy he saw me talking to last week. When I said I did, he asked me if I knew the guy had robbed the bank that morning. I said, “No, I didn’t.” The young technician said the robber had been identified by the bank security camera and the FBI had traced him to the gas station, but they couldn’t figure out how he got away. Then the technician said the FBI man left his business card and gave it to me.


A frantic phone call

On hearing this, I went back to my truck and called the FBI man whose name was on the card. The FBI man told me the guy had turned himself in and was in jail awaiting justice.

At that point I realized why there had been police cars at the bus depot near the service station. The police were following this guy.

They had already found the car he used to get away from the bank; he had stolen the car and abandoned it after committing the robbery. The police also found a fake mustache he wore while committing the crime. They followed him to the service station where I ran into him, but after he got on my truck, their trail went cold.

The guy eventually turned himself in after seeing his picture on the news and on “wanted” posters.

Little did I know my truck had been used for a bank robbery getaway!


Max Shipler is a 35-year veteran mobile distributor currently working as an independent in Pahrum, Nev.