Between 1998 and 2002, Tom Justice robbed 26 banks in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Impressive, right? But what does that have to do with cycling? Well, he performed all of these robberies without a getaway vehicle. That’s right. He got away on his bike.
In an article on chicagomag.com, which is literally begging to be turned into a bank heist movie, we learn that the once Cat 1 olympic hopeful track racer would leave his road bike outside of the bank, casually walk in, hand the teller a note (probably reading something along the lines of “This is a robbery. Put all of your money in this Chrome Industries messenger bag and no one gets hurt, unless I get clipped by some 60-something douche bag in a Range Rover on my way out of here.”), and ride off into the sunset.
As it turns out, it was his bike that actually did him in. The custom-built orange Steelman race bike that he’d bought secondhand turned out to be rare – only 50 of those frames were made each year. In March 2002, a police officer responded to the scene of a bank robbery in Walnut Creek, California. As he arrived, he spotted a dude in spandex racing off on an orange bike with a messenger bag. The rest is history.
He confessed, pleaded guilty, and spent nine years in federal prison. That’s right . . . wait for it . . . Tom was finally brought to Justice.