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Seattle Bank Teller Nabs Robber and Gets Fired

Sure it seems dangerous for a bank teller to track down a bank robber. But it also seems unfair to fire someone for doing that. If banks are so obsessed with sound policy, why did they get involved in so many reckless hoPistolme loans and sub-prime mortgages?

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times
SEATTLE — Jim Nicholson knew he should have just handed over the cash.

But when the thin man in a beanie cap, dark clothing and sunglasses pushed a black backpack across the bank counter and demanded money, Nicholson says his instincts took over.

After more than two years working as a teller at the Key Bank branch in Lower Queen Anne, Nicholson clearly understood the bank’s strict policy of quickly complying with robbers’ demands and avoiding confrontation.

Instead, Nicholson threw the bag to the floor, lunged toward the robber and demanded to see a weapon. Surprised, the would-be bank robber backed up and then bolted for the door, with Nicholson on his heels.

Nicholson, 30, chased the man for several blocks before knocking him to the ground with the help of a passer-by. Nicholson then held him until police arrived.

That was Tuesday.

On Thursday, Nicholson was fired.

In a state that consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in bank robberies, what Nicholson did was not only ill-advised, according to police and the FBI, it was all but unheard of. Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door as quickly as possible and are advised against being a hero over money that’s federally insured.

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