BANK-ROBBING TECHNIQUE IN THE 1870’S. I posted here about how around 1920 Herman Lamm applied time and motion study principles to create a system for robbing banks. The system involved specialization and precise timing. The specialists included “lookout, lobby man, vault man, driver”. Weeks were spent casing the bank and rehearsing movements.
Geoff Manaugh has written A BURGLAR’S GUIDE TO THE CITY. An excerpt from the book in the New York Post tells about the career of George Leonidas Leslie, a bank robber in the 1870’s. A New York City police chief estimated that when he was active, Leslie was responsible for 80% of all bank robberies in the United States. Leslie was a trained architect and what Leslie brought to bank robbing technique was architectural know how. This wikipedia entry says that Leslie, who would spend up to three years planning a robbery, would obtain the blueprints of the building and then build scale models of the target in warehouses (sometimes to full scale). Manaugh says that Leslie would arrange furniture in their proper places and then “coach his team in the darkness with a stopwatch to make sure they got the sequence exactly right, without bumping a single table”
It seems that many of the ideas that Lamm had in the 1920’s—lengthy preparation, rehearsals, and the use of a stopwatch—had been pioneered by Leslie some fifty years earlier.