Teddy Bear Part 15- The White River Heist
There is a part of me that is evil. As evil as evil can be. Can I do something that would help that? Probably. But I’ve never bothered to try and fix it too much. The fear I brought with me everywhere I went back in those days seemed to serve me well. Now hindsight and all, it certainly didn’t. I spent most my life in jail, but when I was out on escape, that evil side came in handy. There wasn’t much I wouldn’t try, and there certainly wasn’t no one I would let stand in my way, if I wanted something.
It went like this for years, I’d escape, I’d get caught, I’d escape again. I didn’t believe they built a penitentiary that could hold me. The shortest time I was ever on the run was a couple of months. The longest time was over 2 years. And it was during this time, I fell in with a crowd and started robbing banks.
After we robbed the first one we couldn’t stop. It was like a paycheck every week, sometimes a couple of times a week. Way I looked at it if I needed liquor I’d rob a liquor store, if I needed a purse I’d steal someone’s purse. But I didn’t need those things. I needed money. So I put together a few guys and we robbed banks. Some folks, including a few district attorneys believe I robbed over 60 of them. And I can’t say much about that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that number was a little low. The fellas I had with me most of this time were a rough bunch. A couple of them are dead and one is doing time in prison and I wish he was dead. He ended up testifying against me on three robberies to get himself out of something. I wish I could have gotten to him and I’d have killed him a long time ago.
There was Posey, Jimmy Drysdale, and Jimmy’s brother Johnny. I’d done time over the years with all of them, we trusted each other at the time, and all of us liked one thing or another too much so even when we’d score thirty grand, splitting it four ways, between four junkies, didn’t take us that far. We had these theatrical masks that looked like old men. They were tight on your face, almost looked real. I could smoke cigarettes through one. Once I was standing on a corner wearing it, and a cop walked right by me, didn’t even notice me. The robberies usually went down like this; Whichever one of us wasn’t hot, and that was never me, would go in and case a bank. We’d steal two cars that night, one for the robbery and one we’d stash on down the road for a switch. The next day, all of us would go in fast, with guns, hit the first person we came across in the face, to get everyone’s attention and then start raking that money out of the cages, making sure we didn’t get dye packs. I’d always take the manager into the vault and get what was laying around in there. We didn’t tarry long enough for anything else. Scared people ain’t gonna do anything. Any trouble that came up was dealt with quick and with harshness. I don’t think any of us ever got a scratch on us, robbing banks.
I guess the most extravagant robbery I was ever a part of was in a small town in Arkansas. Johnny and Jimmy were from that area, and we were passing through there while I was on escape, trying to lay low. It was a unique little town right on the White River with a bank right in the center of it. We were in a motel that night, and a campaign ad for the sheriff came on the little tv in our room. The sheriff was talking about how they’d been able to keep major crime out of their town for this many years and yadda yadda yadda. Fuck that.
“You guys want to rob that bank I saw in town today?” I asked
“Teddy you know that thing ain’t ever been robbed. Not sure it can be.”
“Hell it opens don’t it? Then it can be robbed.”
“You need to look at the roads on the way out of town.”
I’d already noticed. There wasn’t but a couple of roads out of this little town. These roads were surrounded by rice fields. If they wanted to catch someone that had just robbed their bank, all they’d have to do would block off these two roads.
“We’re not going to be using the roads boys. We are going to use the River.”