A cab driver is strapped with a bomb and forced to rob a bank.
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:
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:
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:
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:
Once inside, Harvey handed the bank’s manager, Denise Hutchinson, a letter:
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:
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:
Within minutes, the police were on the scene and the area was evacuated. Harvey McCloud sat alone in the eye of the storm:
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.