Robbing the Mob Bank

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Happy": They wired this thing up with, like, five thousand volts. What kind of bank does that?

"Grumpy": A mob bank. I guess The Joker's as crazy as they say.

Meet Alice. Alice is a crook. She's a thief whose meager salary comes from relieving money of guys with bigger salaries, and she's good at it. She's been caught a few times, sure, but most of the time, the police can't hold her long, as she's just not worth the time and paperwork to keep in jail for long.

So when she breaks into Bob's house and swipes a few expensive-looking pieces of jewelry, she thinks nothing of it... Until her friend tells her that Bob is actually the type of criminal that the police would spare no expense to keep in jail, if they could only pin something on him. And he really doesn't like being robbed, even more so if what Alice stole is of a different value than mere money.

Oh Crap!

Now, Alice finds that her ill-gotten gains are too "hot" for her to fence, and she has an angry mobster after her. Alice might figure now that jail would be a better option, if not for Bob practically owning many of the cops. Depending on Bob's mood, he might simply warn her or tell her to make amends. If she isn't so lucky, she and her family might be subject to drive by shootings by a group dead-set on fitting her for Cement Shoes.

This is a subtope of Mugging the Monster. In that trope, the mugger is typically a Mook and the monster is a main character, while in this trope, the robber is typically a main character and the victim is a villain.

A common mistake made by Stupid Crooks. For cases where characters are deliberately robbing criminals because they think they deserve it, see Just Like Robin Hood or Karmic Thief. Usually unrelated to Bank Robbery.

Examples of Robbing the Mob Bank include:

Comic Books


  • The Dark Knight. The opening scene of Nolan's second Batman feature is a literal robbing of a mob bank, perpetrated by The Joker. The Joker himself averts this trope, since he knows full well who he is stealing from. His clown-masked mooks, on the other hand...
  • The Sting. A team of con artists (Johnny Hooker, Luther Coleman and Joe Erie) inadvertently swindle a numbers runner for crime boss Doyle Lonnegan. Lonnegan assigns hit men to find and kill each of them, and the hit men appear and carry out attacks throughout the movie.
  • Beverly Hills Cop. Michael Tandino steals millions of dollars in bearer bonds from a man named Victor Maitland. Unfortunately for him Maitland is a major drug dealer, who sends hit men to find Tandino, recover the bonds and execute him.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds: Kip steals a car. Then they find the trunk full of cocaine and realize it probably belongs to a drug kingpin.

Memphis: Where did you get this car?
Kip: In front of a restaurant in Chinatown!
Memphis: Do you even know why someone would leave a car like that with its keys in it?...Maybe because no one in that neighborhood would be stupid enough to try and rip this car off!

  • In The Bank Job, members of the British secret service need to retrieve incriminating photos of the princess from a criminal who has been using them as blackmail material to stay out of jail, so they set up some criminals to rob the bank where they are being stored. The criminals have no idea of the motive behind their instigator, and are unprepared when the real target, and other criminals who stored their incriminating evidence in the same bank, come after them.
  • The Usual Suspects: Someone hijacks a truck belonging to Keyser Soze. To make amends, they have to do him a favor.
  • In Snatch, three of the characters rob a legal bookmaking establishment secretly owned by a Complete Monster of a London Gangster.
  • In Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, the two main characters try to rob a bank to help a friend save his bar. Unfortunately for them the bank CEO is involved in the drug trade on the side, and the transport they swipe is carrying the newest designer drug. It goes downhill from there.
  • Drive: Standard's "simple" pawn shop heist was supposed to turn up $40,000. Instead, the crew finds half a million dollars of money stashed by an out-of-town mob. Then things get really bad.
  • In The Fast and the Furious 5, Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Connor assemble a team to rob drug kingpin Reyes completely blind.
  • Charley Varrick. They happened to commit the robbery during the brief period that month when the bank was laundering $765,000 of The Mafia's cash. That's 1973 dollars. Oh, dear.

Live Action TV

  • In one Burn Notice episode, Michael Weston once convinced some bank robbers that they were in the process of doing this.
  • The Sopranos.
    • In "46 Long", Christopher and Brendan Filone start hijacking trucks. The owner of the trucks pays Junior for protection and Junior orders them to stop, but their need to feed their drug addictions forces them to continue. In "Denial, Anger, Acceptance" Junior orders retaliation against them and Brendan is killed.
  • Monk: A man attempts to steal coins from a gumball machine in a barbershop. One of them was a rare penny worth millions. Little did he know that that barbershop was a front for a mob family and they all start shooting at him. The man manages to get a hold of a gun, kills everybody in the shop, and attempts to make it look like a feuding mob had attacked them.
  • Ziggy's backstory in Power Rangers RPM amounts to this. A low-level member of the mob itself, Ziggy got the chance to prove himself making a multi-million dollar shipment. But when he realized the shipment was of medical equipment that an orphanage of Littlest Cancer Patients sorely needed, he sent it to them instead (letting the mob think he took it himself so they wouldn't target the kids) and escaped into the wastelands outside the city. When he returned to civilization, he quickly got in with the Power Rangers through his new friend Dillon, which meant he was mostly protected from mob reprisals. Mostly.

Video Games

  • The plot of Saints Row: The Third is kicked off by a bungled bank heist; the Saints find out the hard way that the bank they're holding up is Syndicate property.
  • The main character, a mercenary, of 7.62 High Calibre is hunting a man who stole from a Russian Mafia run bank and fled to a third world country. He or she is promised an unsaid but very large amount of money for making an example of him.

Western Animation

  • Catwoman's debut episode on The Batman begins with her trying to steal a valuable jade lion statuette from a Japanese businessman. This lands her in hot water because the "businessman" is really a Yakuza boss planning on expanding his clan into Gotham and the statue's true value comes from the data disc hidden inside it which charted his gang's hierarchy and business contacts.
  • This is also the entire plot of Catwoman: Hunted. The whole reason the anti-heroine protagonist is being hunted is because she stole a priceless emerald from a Spanish mobster named Barbara Minerva, and while Minerva recovers it quickly, she's not letting Selina off easy. Catwoman quickly finds that there's a price on her head, with the League of Assassins, Leviathan (Talia Al Ghul's organization), Minerva's bodyguard Solomon Grundy, and Minerva herself (who is, in fact, Cheetah's civilian identity) after her.