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This Thief Robbed Two Banks With… an Avocado?

By Orgesta Tolaj


13 November 2023

Avocado Bank Robbery

© Freepik, Lisa Fotios / Pexels

This is not a “La Casa De Papel” matter! Adding this to unusual heists, a saga unfolded in Beersheba, Israel. The story revolves around a 47-year-old man whose weapon of choice wasn’t the typical gun or knife which are scary on their own. Instead, he used avocado, painted black, and wielded as a grenade. Yes, you read that correctly. This unique thief purportedly targeted two banks, using this fruit-turned-improvised weapon to demand money from bank tellers in what is now known as the Avocado Bank Robbery.

The Avocado Bank Robbery

In an unusual series of events in Beersheba, Israel, a 47-year-old individual carried out two bank robberies last month. This started being referred to as “The Avocado Bank Robbery”. Instead of a traditional weapon, the robber used a peculiar choice—a painted avocado that he asserted was a grenade. Armed with this unconventional “weapon” and brandishing a handwritten note with misspelled demands for money, he targeted bank tellers, coercing them to hand over cash.

Avocado Bank Robbery
© Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Despite the unconventional and seemingly comical nature of the threat—utilizing an avocado as a means of intimidation—the thief managed to abscond with nearly $8,400 in total from the two banks. This odd and unexpected method of robbery caught the attention of the public and law enforcement. Which then led to discussions and investigations into this peculiar crime.

How Did He Manage to Succeed With the Avocado Bank Robbery?

In mid-May 2019, the man, now facing charges of aggravated robbery, entered a branch of the Postal Bank situated in the Big Beersheba shopping mall. Using a misspelled note, he approached the cashier, instructing her to hand over the cash from her counter. The note, as reported by Channel 12 television news and cited by the Times of Israel, contained a misspelling of the Hebrew word for “drawer”. The robber used it to demand the money.

Avocado Bank Robbery
© Israel Police

To escalate the situation, the thief purportedly upped the stakes by claiming the avocado he was holding was a grenade. He then threatened the hesitant cashier, urging her to act swiftly. The robber allegedly warned her to comply by swiftly placing the money in a bag. He said that if she doesn’t comply, she will face the consequences of the implied threat.

Not His First Offense

The suspect concealed their identity with hats, sunglasses, and an eye patch during the robberies. This made it difficult to identify the person on security footage. Nevertheless, the police, as per The Times of Israel, located the suspect by monitoring cellphone activity and pursuing various leads. This unnamed individual was ultimately apprehended through these investigative efforts. He was also previously imprisoned for a three-year term due to past robbery-related charges.

Not the First Time Fruit Was Used to Rob a Bank

In Bournemouth, Laurence Vonderdell found himself sentenced to 14 months in jail for a rather unconventional robbery at a local Barclays Bank branch. Armed with a banana cleverly disguised in a plastic bag, he pointed it at a cashier, demanding money. The incident, as reported by Dorset Police, resulted in Vonderdell escaping with £1,100 in cash before he voluntarily turned himself in not long after the heist.

Avocado Bank Robbery

During an earlier hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court, Vonderdell admitted to charges of robbery and possessing an imitation firearm. The police’s description of the event detailed Vonderdell’s entrance into the bank on March 25, where he approached a cashier, threatening, “This is a stick-up, give me the cash,” before making his way out of the branch.

While this situation might seem funny to some, Detective Constable Andy Hale emphasized the potential distress caused to the female cashier. This was also despite Vonderdell’s subsequent surrender and the recovery of the stolen money. The psychological impact of such an alarming event was underscored, despite the relatively non-violent nature of the robbery.

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Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!