The Genius of Bob Matthews

by Ryu

Here’s an untold story about Bob.  From what I’ve been able to piece together, it was the most interesting thing about him. He was very different than other WN leaders.

The year is 1981 and Bob just formed the Order. He needs money and a lot of it. He knows there are only three ways to get it:

  1. print it
  2. earn it, or
  3. steal it

Earning it takes too long in America. He decides to steal it, and he decides to stick up banks.

But he’s never done this before. He tells his people he’s leaving and that he’ll be back.

For 3 months, he’s gone. In that time, he learned how to….…. rob banks properly. More than just being a great thinker, Bob becomes great in the field. In time, his crew will be one of the best ever. They work the highest grossing Brinks truck robbery of all time.

Bank robbery is a serious crime; the penalty includes prison time. It’s very hard to pull off because banks are well-protected, and one has get in and out in under 5 minutes. In, get the money, out. And one has to get far enough away that one escapes the police.

In modern times, very few have been able to do the work and go clear. This isn’t the 1800s anymore, where one can rob stagecoaches and there’s no police presence. Video cameras, iphones, and short police response times make bank robbery quite hard.

Bob must have studied successful and unsuccessful bank robberies. He read case files and newspaper clippings. He performed surveillance on banks, saw how they were set up. He looked at police response times. He calculated every element and planned to cover as many outs as possible.

To do things right takes a tremendous amount of discipline. Bob must have been far different from the average man. It’s not gambling once one finds an edge. One tries to minimize luck and create a replicable system.

Sitting here, it seems impossible that someone might be TOO active. WN today is characterized by its inactivity and fear. But it’s possible. Bob’s mistake was becoming too active. He didn’t allow enough cooling off between jobs. He could have been an excellent career criminal, still working today and still free.

Rest is important. Rest and work must be emphasized in equal proportion. It provides distance and time to think about mistakes. In the field, one is focused on getting things done. All the calculations are done when sitting at home though.

There is a strange, hyper-vigiliant feeling one gets from constantly working. It’s being too close to the action. One can feel paranoid, and see things that aren’t there. An animal being hunted feels the hunter’s breath. It’s like that. One might compare it to PTSD.

11 Comments to “The Genius of Bob Matthews”

  1. There were a series of 3 bank robberies in eastern Iowa in 2013-2014 in which the robber has so far successfully evaded capture. They were interesting because the banks were located in very small rural towns (populations around 500) and they evaded capture by using the rural gravel roads. Probably a local person who knew the area and could hide the vehicles in a shed, barn or even just down a private, gated farm lane. He even hit one of the banks twice! Seems like it was very nicely run operation.

  2. Ryu, you’ve read The Silent Brotherhood – Bob dropped his gun, which was the nidus for the unraveling. He also brought in weak links and had too much (rather than proportionate) faith in them – once you were “in” with him, he gave you 100% unquestioned loyalty.

    Also, I thought you were going to say re: print it, earn it, steal it, that he did all three to some measure, just failed on the first two, which was the case.

    That said, yes, I agree, his comprehensive fervor was the essential ingredient for their success – he wasn’t deterred by the having to do the 95% of the boring/dirty work. With a smaller gang, and only focused on the heist, he could’ve had a decades long career on medium sized robberies (like the job he did at the northgate mall), and would’ve died a rich man.

    • Although I haven’t read the book I suspect that his motive wasn’t to die a rich man. He was a passionate WN and perhaps his passion is what made him drop the gun.

    • Hello, FWM. I haven’t read the Silent Brotherhood yet. I just learned about the dropped gun actually.

      I cannot imagine a WN group having 30 members. I would be surprised if there are that many people with the right stuff in the whole US, who could actually work together today.

  3. Incredible notion that one could resist Moloch without it being a suicide mission.

  4. I have often wondered about those three months, but you can’t forget about Gary Yarborough’s influence. Yes, Bob Matthews left his gun behind, imagine what would have happened without Yarborough’s help.

  5. There was an old series of shows I watched called Daring Capers. If you can get them free/cheap I think they will be of great interest to you.

  6. The most successful revolutionary bank robber of all time would be Joseph Stalin.

    He was never the face of the movement though and always worked in the shadows.

  7. Bloomberg had an interesting story about a type of ATM robbery called “plofkraak”, the article is long but worth reading:

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