When I was in middle school, a classmate’s dad was arrested for robbing a bank with a kitchen knife. Although I think he made it off the premises with some amount of cash, the cops quickly tracked him down because—and I am not making any of this up—his first name and last initial were stamped on his personalized license plate, and because one of his neighbors worked as a security guard at that same bank.
That’s a long way of saying that this Israeli man is far from the worst bank robber, especially since his weapon of choice was an avocado. Just a regular old avocado.
According to the Times of Israel, the unidentified 47-year-old walked into a branch of the Postal Bank in a Beersheba, Israel shopping mall and handed the teller a misspelled note asking for all of the money in the drawer. He held a small black object in his right hand, and insisted that he would “throw this grenade” if she didn’t comply. She gave him NIS 16,000 (US $4,475) in cash, and he walked out of the building.
Five days later, he went to a different Postal Bank branch, carrying the same small black item, and making the same threats. That time, he walked out the door with NIS 12,000 (US $3,356).
His one mistake (well, other than robbing banks) was that he carried his cell phone with him while he committed the crimes. Despite the fact that he took care to wear a wide-brimmed hat and to cover his face, his phone’s geolocation data snitched, and police officers were able to identify him, find him, and put him under arrest. His name has not been released, but the officers have confirmed that he had a criminal record, and had already served three years in prison for a previous robbery.
That “grenade” that he held up in both bank branches, though? That was just an avocado that he’d painted black. (Although I don’t advocate violent crime—even when the perpetrator is just armed with Omega-3s—it’s a nice change to see the words ‘avocado robbery’ and not immediately think of what I just paid at Whole Foods, ay.)
On a couple of previous occasions, criminals have used more conventional-looking fruit in their own attempted robberies. In September 2014, a man in Philadelphia grabbed a banana from a convenience store, put it in the pocket of his hoodie, and then successfully passed it off as a gun. He escaped with an undetermined amount of cash, several packages of cigarettes, and one gently used banana.
Several years before that, a different Philadelphia man “stuffed a rotten banana in his trousers” and convinced a bank teller that he was carrying a gun. (Although he made it out of the bank, he was caught shortly afterward because he dropped his wallet, which contained two IDs and his Social Security card. No, I didn’t go to school with his kids.)
Earlier this year, a man tried to rob a convenience store in Mississauga, Ontario, but the quick-thinking cashier grabbed a banana off the counter and started beating him with it. He fled the scene without getting any cash, and the cashier was freaked out but uninjured. “The banana had some minor bruising,” Constable Akhil Mooken, a spokesperson for the Peel Regional Police, said at the time.
There are a lot of ways to abuse fruit, but this might be the worst.