Kevin looked at his notebook page of morning ATM utilization. The banks usually serviced and replenished the machines at 8:30AM. At least one bank employee had to be there before that and Kevin had scoped out several banks. At three of them he had noted an employee arrived just before eight followed 5-10 minutes later by the bank guard. The important data pertained of course, to the early morning ATM users. People usually used the drive-thru ATM machines at the banks in the morning because of the cold temperatures. Two banks still used the ATMs in the ante space of their side entrances. A person had to park their car and use their ATM card to unlock the doors to where the machine was located in front of the main entryway.
Kevin drove his car to the bank entrance and left it running. He used his Wells Fargo Bank credit card to unlock the door and went inside the warm ante space and stood looking at the reflection of the parking lot in the ATM screen. He didn’t have to wait long. Another car drove up and parked beside his. The woman left her car running and accessed the entrance with her card. After the buzzer released the lock, the young woman entered and closed the door standing a few feet away from Kevin waiting for him to complete his presumed transaction.
Kevin turned around with his revolver pointing at the woman whose eyes bulged at his black ski-masked face under his navy knit hat. “Go right to the machine and insert your card or I’ll kill you where you stand.” Kevin held his other gloved hand up to her face. “No noise or I’ll make it very painful for you.”
The woman, who looked college-age, began crying. “No, please. Don’t hurt me. I’m a mother of three children.”
“Put your card in and complete two cash requests for $500 apiece. That’s the maximum consecutive transactions for this bank.” He moved quickly behind her and held the muzzle of his gun against her spine. “If I have to shoot and you live, you’ll be paralyzed from the waist down.”
“I’m doing it. See. I have the card in.” The first cluster of money was produced.
“Now once more.” He nudged the gun barrel against her spine.
“Okay. Here.” She handed him the two packets of bills. “Please don’t hurt me.”
“Give me your cell phone and take off your shoes.” Kevin took the items. “And I want your car keys.”
“My keys are in the car. I left it running. The door’s unlocked.” Tears were streaming down her face from red-rimmed eyes.
“Turn around and put both hands on the ATM machine and look at the digital clock. Don’t move from there for five-minutes or I’ll shoot you right through the glass doors. Understand.”
She gave a sobbing, “Yes, Yes, Yes.”
Kevin shut her car down, locked it, and pocketed the keys. He sped from the bank parking area and looked at the time on his car radio dial. “Good. It took only 15-minutes including my waiting time.” He spoke to his rearview mirror as he stopped for a red light and removed his ski mask and hat. It was now 7:20AM. He should make the AA meeting with five-minutes to linger with the smokers outside.
St. Raphael's back entrance to the AA meeting room had a very ample parking area which now hosted over two dozen cars. Kevin parked next to Wynona’s car and walked over to the group, most of whom were smoking. He returned Wynona’s huge smile as she moved away from a tall gentleman in a western-cut topcoat.
“Oh I'm so glad you made it.” She put her arm through his and escorted him to the crowd. “There were only a few of the people who go to our evening meetings who you know. I want you to meet one of the morning regulars. He's really cool.”
Kevin allowed Wynona to steer him in the direction of the tall man with the western coat and cowboy hat. “I didn't realize so many people attended the early riser meeting.”
“Tex I want you to meet Kevin. He's a friend of mine from the nighttime and weekend AA crowd. Tex this is Kevin.” She removed her arm from Kevin's and allowed them to shake hands.
“Howdy I'm Tex. Glad to meecha.” The man looked taller with his cowboy Stetson and appeared to be in his 50s.
“I'm Kevin. Where are you from out west?”
The tall man had a hollow smoker’s resonating voice. “Actually I'm from Hartford. I'm just partial to Western clothes and I throw in a fake accent.”
Wynona grabbed Kevin’s arm again. “I've known Tex a few years now. Look everyone's going into the meeting.”
This is perfect. My alibi is guaranteed should I need it . Kevin looked up at Tex who was at least a foot taller than he. “How long have you been in the AA program Tex?”
“My last drink was 11-years ago.” Tex led the way to the coffee pot.
The young woman at the bank remained frozen in front of the ATM machine watching the digital clock display blink off the five-minutes. She turned her head around slowly and saw the criminal’s car was gone. It was cold out, she had no shoes and she was locked out of her car. She decided to wait inside the ATM foyer and within 20-minutes someone else used a credit card to open the door to the ATM space. In a flustered but not hysterical manner she explained what had happened and the male banker used his cell phone to call the police.
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