A cab driver is strapped with a bomb and forced to rob a bank.

Police sketch of caucasian man with light hair and prominent widows peak

Witnesses saw this man remove a disguise

Suspect:

Gender: Male
DOB: Approx. 1941 to 1951
Height: 6’
Weight: 160 lbs.
Hair: Short-cropped, salt and pepper

CASE DETAILS

In Modesto, California, 65-year-old Harvey McCloud had been a devoted cab driver for 10 years.   Harvey had seen just about everything, so he wasn’t too surprised when a man in a turban with a phony beard and mustache flagged him down one afternoon:

“It was just a normal fare. He did have a turban, but we have several of those in Modesto, so I never thought anything about it.”

A bomb tucked away and chained into a mans pants

The suspect chained a bomb to Harvey’s waist

The passenger spoke in a coarse whisper.   He only had about half the fare, but he said he could pick up the rest at his brother’s house, which was on the way:

“He said his brother lived on that road, so I didn’t think too much about it until he told me to stop after a couple of blocks. So I stopped the car and turned around, and here that gun was staring me right in the nose. So I just basically thought it was a robbery.”

But this was no ordinary robbery.   Harvey McCloud was about to be turned into a human time bomb.   The gunman chained a black metal box with a numeric keypad onto Harvey’s body.   He ran a wire lead around Harvey’s neck and clipped it shut.   Then, according to Harvey, the gunman activated the black box:

“I was terrified. My mind was going a hundred miles an hour, and I was trying to figure out how am I going to get out of this?”

A bank teller removing stacks of money from a safe

The demands of the gunman were met

Ten minutes later, Harvey was on his way back to Modesto.   On the drive there, the gunman gave Harvey detailed instructions for robbing a bank.   Harvey was to take a box, which carried a second bomb, into the bank and leave it there:

“Well, he kept reminding me that he could set this bomb off by his cellular telephone. And me, I don’t know that much about electronics, but what you see in the papers and TV, you can do about anything with electronics nowadays, so I believed him.”

Once inside, Harvey handed the bank’s manager, Denise Hutchinson, a letter:

“I thought I was dealing with an irate customer, because he was agitated. I proceeded to read the letter, and about midway through, it shocked me… And it upset me.   I looked around the lobby, and it was very scary that if I didn’t do the right thing that all of us could be blown up as a result of that.”

Harvey walking out of the bank with cash in hand and bomb still strapped to pants

Harvey left the bank with the cash and the bomb

Denise Hutchinson decided to comply with the gunman’s orders.   She and another bank employee filled a briefcase with the exact amount of money demanded in the letter.   The robbery had gone according to plan.   But then Harvey performed a quiet act of heroism:

“I didn’t want to see innocent people… get killed. I couldn’t do much about me, but I could at least take the bomb with me and to protect the other people in the bank. So I walked out the door with it.”

In the back of the cab, Harvey found a list of instructions.   First, he drove to a hardware store 15 minutes away.   He parked the cab, leaving behind the cash and the car keys.   Then he walked half a mile to a pay phone.   The instructions said the gunman would phone Harvey with directions for dismantling the bomb:

“I waited about 5, 10 minutes, and no call came in, so I happened to look at the telephone, and it said no incoming calls. So then I knew something was up. So then that’s when I called my dispatcher and told her what happened.”

Within minutes, the police were on the scene and the area was evacuated.   Harvey McCloud sat alone in the eye of the storm:

“I wasn’t very calm inside. I was… shaking, my stomach was rolling, I had all these things going through my mind, just wondering how long I was going to be in this old world.”

Poilce officer arriving to the scene and setting up yellow crime scene tape around the bank

Police arrived and evacuated the area

Eventually, the bomb squad arrived and released Harvey from the device.   X-rays later determined that both bombs were fakes. The robbery had been perfectly executed … almost.   Two witnesses later told police they had observed an unusually dressed adult male outside of the bank at the time of the robbery.   However, they were unable to provide police with a license plate number.

This case is still unsolved.   The statute of limitations has expired on the robbery, but not on the kidnapping.   Witnesses described the suspect as about 6 feet tall and 160 pounds.   The man has short-cropped hair that is silver or salt-and-pepper in color.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season six with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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9 Comments

  1. Jayne

    Ok.. that picture is freaky looking….

    Reply

  2. Gayle A Neely

    It reminded me of the infamous Pizza Bomber case which happened in Erie, PA in August 2003, where a kidnap victim had a bomb around his neck and he died. The insane woman who planned it recently died in prison. I was only a few blocks away when it occurred and my husband was responsible for getting it videotaped by the tv news. The tape was used by police and fbi to help solve it.

    Reply

  3. Chanita

    OK That’s Very Frightening A Bomb Being Strapped To That Man Was Very Terrible! I’m Petty Sure He Will Get Caught Petty Soon! And and They Need To Stop Him Before This Turns To Murder!

    Reply

  4. Patience

    Idk how to contact the show im from California I believe I know the white male with a low toned voice I met him through my mothers boyfriends boss but what makes me think its the same man because around the time of the robbery (few days maybe) I saw him at the local library and he saw I just had another child plus homeless he gave me 20 bucks .. I live in Oklahoma now but im pretty sure that the man who the cab driver described & the photo are the same man .. I hope some can contact me with a number I can call so I can give my information ..

    Reply

  5. Eric

    I get the above case is related, is the same man, he has a double life, one side, lover, does not know, but see is a Christion and seeing what I am writing, right now. any way, solved.

    Reply

  6. joe

    Why don’t you say when it happened?

    Reply

    • unsolved

      Hi Joe – this occurred in January of 1996.

      Reply

    • Jennifer

      Could it be related to this case in Baltimore?

      41-year-old Westminster man has been charged with forcing at gunpoint an unlicensed cabdriver in Baltimore to drive to Mount Airy, wear a purported bomb vest and rob a bank, federal prosecutors said.

      On July 23, a man entered the PNC Bank in the 15900 block of Old Frederick Road while talking on a cellphone, according to court documents. He handed a bank employee the phone and opened a briefcase, displaying what appeared to be a homemade explosive device.
      This man was caught

      Reply

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