Monday, February 16, 2009


I like this! It’s an age old story – robbing from the rich to pay the poor. In this instance a builder in Cataluña brought to his knees by the recession decided to raise the money he needed by robbing banks armed with a gun and a knife.

For his role model Ausencio Calleja learnt from ‘El Solitario’ the lone raider who robbed numerous banks in Spain. ‘El Solitario’ turned from being famous to notorious after he gunned down several Guardia Civil officers but the builder just wanted the money.

He managed to rob five banks between September 5 and January 23 before the Mossos d’Esquadra cornered him on Friday as he tried to strike at an isolated branch in the province of Tarragona. By that time it is estimated that he’d walked off with around 80,000 euros all of which he handed over to his creditors.

According to the police the builder – robber is a 52-year-old married man with school-aged children from the northern town of Lleida and his company specialised in home restorations. As the economic crisis bit hard, his clients defaulted on payments, and banks would not give him new loans.

Police inspector Roberic Moreno stated: “He had an ordinary life, with a stable family. He was in good shape but they stopped paying him and his debts mounted. Without a doubt, he led a double life and probably not even his family knew about his criminal activities.”

I certainly do not hold with robbing banks. And yet, given that the banks are now shored up with our money – without even a by-your-leave – I can’t help smile this Monday morning at the actions of Ausencio Calleja who as the banks would not lend him money simply took it to pay his creditors.

Robin Hood would have been proud!

No comments: