The Granddad Bandit Brings New Meaning to Starting a Second Career
We all approach the big 5-0 in our own way. Some of us plan a big trip, others a party of friends from long ago. Still others choose to let the day pass unceremoniously, ignoring the AARP requests to join the club.
Then there is another group: the avant garde among us who give mid-life crisis and/or starting a second career a new meaning. Some people get nervous about having too much time on their hands.
Michael Francis Mara falls into this latter, off-beat group. If he’s guilty of his alleged crimes, he’s a true example of some things you should cross off of your to-do-when-I-retire list.
Mara, a 52-year-old man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been dubbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as The Granddad Bandit. Allegedly, the F.B.I. says that when Mara turned 50 he did something a little different (hopefully) than the rest of us. The F.B.I. in Baton Rouge recently arrested Mara “for robbing at least 25 banks in 13 states in less than two years,” according to a press release issued by the United States Attorneys Virginia office.
According to F.B.I. reports, bank surveillance cameras are showing Mara didn’t start the career with guns a blazing like Bonnie and Clyde. Instead, he would allegedly go into a bank without a disguise. He’d wait in line, politely and patiently, then present his note demanding money to the bank teller–when it was finally his turn. When he got what he wanted, he’d take the note back and leave the bank.
No fuss, no muss.
The F.B.I. nabbed Mara with the help of the public, as is often the case. Civic groups advertised the crimes on digital billboards, radio and in print. Then someone recognized him and called the F.B.I.
“Let this be a heads up to those involved in criminal activity–the cooperation between law enforcement and the public will lead to justice,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Morehart, who heads up the FBI’s Richmond’s division.
After a June 22 bank robbery in Glen Arm, Virginia, the F.B.I. put together a far-reaching publicity campaign aimed at soliciting citizen tips. On Aug. 2, the Norfolk F.B.I. Field Office got a solid hit from a tipster, and Granddad was picked up.
The F.B.I. has charged Mara by criminal complaint of committing bank robbery. If a jury finds Mara guilty, he faces 20 years in prison.
If you’re working on that bucket list of things you want to do in your “second life,” hopefully the tale of the granddad bandit moves things like volunteering at the local school and learning how to crochet up a notch or two. At the very least, if you need a thrill to spice up your life, visit the local amusement park for a trip on a roller coaster—the literal kind, as opposed to the metaphorical kind.