You don’t see this every day.

What if someone tries to rob a bank and you just give them the Nancy Reagan treatment? What if you just say no?

This is exactly what police say went down on June 30 in Lakewood at the Wells Fargo on West Kennedy Boulevard. Authorities say a man walked inside, approached a teller and handed them a note demanding money.

Michael Burrell
Michael Burrell

Police say the teller just said no.

“The teller denied his request, so he left the bank and proceeded to walk across the intersection to the TD Bank (on) Madison Avenue,” according to township police Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith. 

At that second bank he pulled the same routine and was handed $1,500, authorities say.

Staffordsmith said an investigation later determined the suspect to be 67-year-old Ivan Sevastianow from Howell who they say robbed a bank in Old Bridge days later. He was charged with three counts of second-degree bank robbery and was taken to Middlesex County Jail ahead of a court hearing.

crime scene tape focus on word 'crime' in cenematic dark tone with copy space

So let’s get this straight. Apparently, when someone is trying to steal something from you or your business you have the option to say no? Who knew?!

It’s like something out of the very old Woody Allen movie “Take The Money And Run.” Allen played a not very assertive or menacing bank robber who once botched a robbery because the tellers gathered around trying to argue with him about his poor penmanship on the demand note.

Wouldn’t we all like to see the look on the suspect’s face when a teller just tells him no? Was there any cajoling? Did he just immediately accept the rejection and sheepishly leave? Women on dating apps should have it this easy to get rid of somebody.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this was a heroic, bold act of defiance or a dangerous, foolish move on the teller’s part. I just hope they don’t get in any hot water with their job for not following some potential compliance protocol.

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