Bank Robber Comes Up a Few Dollars Short in the Brains Department

You don't have to be a genius to be a criminal, as Deputy Dist. Atty. Mark Vezzani can testify. Take the guy who scrawled a holdup note on a deposit slip in a Wells Fargo Bank in L.A., then decided the line was too long.

So he entered a nearby Bank of America, where he handed a clerk the note. Sorry, the clerk told him, but she couldn't honor a note written on a Wells Fargo slip.

He went back to a table and made out the note on a B of A slip.

"Meanwhile," Vezzani said, "the teller was pushing the button."

The man was arrested as he left the bank.

Stupid Criminal Tricks (II): Vezzani also told me about a gunman who ordered a clerk in a San Fernando Valley liquor store to hand over all the money in the cash register.

The clerk obeyed. But when the gunman demanded a bottle of gin, he met resistance.

The clerk told him the cash was one thing, but he was afraid that if he handed over the gin he would lose his license because the gunman appeared to be a juvenile.

The indignant gunman insisted that he was over 21. The clerk, a reasonable man, suggested the gunman produce his driver's license to prove it. The robber obeyed.

The clerk, Vezzani said, naturally memorized the robber's name and address, and police had no trouble tracking down the not-so-young gunman.

Unclear on the concept: Today's exhibits include:

* Some wood available (see photo) on a temporary basis (Ed Schlotter of Simi Valley).

* An apartment whose description indicates it's on an island (see photo), though it isn't (John Vuorenmaa of Lakewood).

* A sale (see photo) you can take advantage of at your leisure (Harvey Geller of Tarzana).

Cross humor: The item here about intersections with funny names--i.e. ANTONIO Parkway/Avenida de Las BANDERAS in Margarita--brought more examples from readers.

David Terlinden points out there are several intersections with show biz names in Lakewood, including AMOS Avenue and ANDY Street.

In Rancho Cucamonga, points out Ray Grant, there's JACK BENNY Drive and ROCHESTER Avenue. Oddly enough, Rochester was named after a local citizen, not the character on Benny's radio and television shows.

(Benny is honored in that city, old-timers will surmise, because of the running gag on his show about the train bound for "Anaheim, Azusa and KOOK-amonga.")

miscelLAny: Perhaps it's understandable the way some holidays are moved around on the calendar. But Studio City Chamber of Commerce boss Lorena Parker still found it amusing that several people called her to ask what day the community's Fourth of July show would be held.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., 90012 and by e-mail at

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