Robbery sign of personal dark times

By Grant McGee: local columnist

Some guy with a bad idea created a bad day for a bunch of people two weeks ago. I’m talking about that bank robbery here in Clovis. I think I may have an idea how those bank employees felt that day.

On my first day as a New Mexican I got caught up in the drama of a robbery. Before I moved here I read up on Albuquerque. The crime rate caught my eye. New Mexico’s largest city had a crime rate like New Orleans. I thought if the Big Easy’s crime rate didn’t keep people away from Mardi Gras how bad can it be in Albuquerque? It seems every time I utter the phrase, “How bad can it be” I find out.

I quickly settled in to an apartment then went to a Northeast Heights barber shop to get a trim for a job interview.

As I sat in the barber chair gazing through the plate glass at the Sandia Mountains I noticed a young man with his back to the glass. He had a brown bag in one hand and a pistol in the other.

I was trying to make some sense of this when I looked out into the parking lot and saw several Albuquerque police cruisers with police officers standing in a familiar pose like on TV shows. You know, the one where they’re hunkered over and have pistols in their hands, each one aiming at a suspect. But this was real, not on TV, and the suspect was on the other side of a pane of glass that was in front of me. And all the pistols were pointed at that suspect and me.

“Guys,” I said, “I think something’s going on outside.”

The barber and the other customers looked up. It took them a few moments to take it all in too.

“I think we all better get in the back room,” said the barber. He led the way to a large closet. I didn’t even have time to take off that tablecloth with the hole in the middle that barbers toss over you when they cut your hair.

A few minutes later, a booming voice echoed through the barber shop.
“Albuquerque police. It’s OK, everyone can come out now.” We looked at each other to see who’d go first. The barber did and we followed. A cop was standing in the shop.

“What happened?” asked the barber.

The policeman told us how a customer walking into a nearby bank saw this kid getting out of his car and reaching under the seat for a pistol.
The customer called the cops. But it wasn’t the bank the guy was interested in, it was the pizza joint next door to the barber shop. So when the robber emerged from the restaurant, pistol and bag of cash in hand, the police were one step ahead of him.

“Welcome to Albuquerque,” I thought to myself.

Robbing people is a bad idea. Somewhere long ago and far away I read a saying that stuck with me. It may have been uttered by a famous person or maybe it was taken from the Good Book: “The darkest hour of a man’s life is when he plots to take money without working for it.”

Obviously a bunch of folks in the world have never heard this phrase.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: