The Bank Route

cullotta-cover-web.jpgFrank soon had his own crew of armed robbers. They pulled lots of tavern jobs and were involved in shootouts with both civilians and cops. High speed police pursuits were not uncommon.Frank’s exploits came to the attention of Tony Spilotro. During a meeting one day, Tony mentioned an opportunity for Frank to expand his criminal endeavors. Tony called it the bank route.

Excerpted from CULLOTTA – The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness 

At that time Tony was pursuing his goal of working his way up the Outfit ladder and becoming a main man. He was then part of a crew run by Outfit guy James “Turk” Torello. However, unlike his buddy, Frank preferred to stay independent; and in that respect he was a renegade.  Although he was leery of getting involved with Tony because it might mean hooking up with the mobsters, he was intrigued and wanted to hear more.

He asked, “What kind of deal are you talking about?”

Tony said, “Turk’s got a thing going that’s safer and pays better than the robberies you’re doing. We call it the bank route.”

“You mean sticking up banks?”

“No. All we do is lay on [watch] the banks looking for messengers coming in to get money for businesses. These guys follow a routine. If you get behind them in line at the bank you can tell how much cash they’ll be carrying by the color of the bands holding the stacks of money they receive. Once you identify a messenger and know how big a score to expect, you can rob him a week or two later after he leaves the bank.”

Frank liked what he was hearing, but was concerned about getting involved with Torello. “You’re already with a crew. How do we fit in?”

Tony smiled. “I can work with Turk and you guys, too. There are a lot of banks around and I’m an ambitious guy.”

Frank glanced at his crew and got their nods of approval. “Okay, we’re in,” he said.

 A few days later, Tony, Frank and one of his crew, went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where they did their first bank messenger robbery. It was a $20 thousand score. The only drawback was the travel; the distance they had to drive to get back to Chicago increased their chances of getting caught. It was decided to do future jobs closer to home. 

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