That may sound like the heroic act of a quick-thinking citizen, but as the report made clear, it wasn’t.
The customer, a woman identified only as “Blanca,” was cashing a check at a bank in Houston when masked gunmen burst in. Now, I’ve never been in a situation like that, and I guess you never really know how you’ll respond. But if it happens—and I say this with all the authority of someone who has just Googled “what to do in a bank robbery”—it is important not to panic and make sudden movements, try to flee, or do anything else that might startle the robber. This is said to greatly increase the risk that bullets will start flying.
Clearly, Blanca had never Googled this question.
Apparently convinced, for a reason she didn’t explain, that she was going to be shot anyway, Blanca took off running. “I was just thinking, get out now and just duck, ’cause they are going to shoot you, you know?'” Blanca said she had said to herself as she ran, thereby greatly increasing the risk of being shot. “I went the other way like this [demonstrating] and I just ran, and I kind of just ducked down and I pushed the first door and I threw a lady out of my way” and kept going. “”I know I’m gonna get hit,” she said, “I feel it, you know?”
Having made it out of the bank, but apparently sure she was being pursued, Blanca tried to take shelter in a nearby car. She described what happened next: “The first car I saw, I jumped in …. I tried to close the door and when I looked up to close the door I said ‘Oh, God, this car is on!’ and I looked back, and I didn’t see them comin’ behind me but I just eeeeeeeee [makes squealing-tire noise], I just floored it and I just took off.”
Blanca drove for several miles before pulling into a parking lot and trying to get help. She got out of the car, rolled on the ground and then ran screaming into a nearby store where she called the police. The officers who responded to that call promptly arrested her, because after all she had just stolen a car. More specifically, the car had already been reported stolen, because the car she had stolen was the getaway car, which the robbers had stolen from somebody else earlier that day.
It sounds like Blanca may have suspected that she had tried to hide in the getaway car, which might explain her overreaction to realizing that the car was still running, and also her statement after being told the car was stolen: “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it was their car.'” But again, no one should think that she was heroically trying to foil the getaway when she drove off. Because, just to recap, Blanca:
- panicked and ran, increasing the risk to everyone;
- threw another woman out of the way while trying to save herself;
- dove into someone else’s car;
- drove off in that car, which as far as she knew belonged to another customer;
- drove that car for miles;
- got out and rolled on the ground in fear despite being miles away from danger; and
- ran into the store still screaming.
Frightening event, granted. I think we can still call that an overreaction.
To cap it all off, her theft of the getaway car did not keep the robbers from getting away, it just meant they carjacked somebody else in order to do it. So, good work, Blanca. I’m glad you and everyone else involved are unhurt, unless you skinned your knees during your dismount from the car, but if it happens again maybe a little less drama is in order.