Forget Willie Sutton's famous reply to the question about why he robbed banks. If it were up to alleged stickup man Robert Varela, the answer would be, “Because that's where the dye is.” This afternoon the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that Varela is accused of botching a Whittier heist during the getaway phase, when he fled a WaMu with a bank bag of cash. It wasn't that he used a BB gun, or that he'd concealed it in a purse, that brings a smile to our faces and a tear to our eyes. It wasn't even that his getaway car was an awaiting taxi — we admire the 22-year-old's spunk for using a cab! No, the problem was that he chose to open the bank bag in the taxi's back seat — immediately exploding the dye pack secreted in the sack. But things would get worse.

Varela allegedly fled the cab to seek protective foliage in a

shopping center, where he tossed his dye-stained jacket, before sitting

on a bus bench in front a Sears. (Apparently there are some still

open.) Varela's undoing proved to be his childlike faith in public

transportation. The bus, according to the Trib, was on layover,

and Varela sat there an agonizing 20 minutes before a cop assigned to

the shopping center spotted him and his purse, and called for backup.

Now in custody, Varela must place his faith in a different kind of bank


LA Weekly