'Santa Claus' Bank Robber Was Once Real Estate Exec Who Made $500,000 Per Year
"I never dreamed I'd be a prisoner," Mark London told Inside Edition.
Some former executives and professionals once at the top of their fields had a drastic career change when they became bank robbers.
The former president of a national real estate company, 66-year-old Mark London, found himself behind bars in 2014 after he robbed a Florida bank while dressed as Santa Claus two days before Christmas in 2013.
He recently spoke to Inside Edition about his crimes from jail.
"In a million years I never dreamed I’d be a prisoner and doing an interview in prison," he said.
During the Christmastime robbery, he was holding a gift box and handed a menacing note to the teller that read: "This is a hold up! This is not a joke. There is a live radio-controlled bomb in the box. It can blow this bank into dust."
The terrified teller handed over $8,000.
When London was the president of his real estate company, he was making $500,000 a year, living in Florida.
“It's fairly comical and if I wasn't here in prison it would be damn funny,” he told Inside Edition.
London’s colleague at the real estate company, Ron Haskell, was surprised to hear about his former co-worker's side job.
“When I first heard the news, I was shocked," Haskell said. "You don't expect a person who has risen to the level Mark had to rob a bank."
Mark London was sentenced to eight years in prison in September 2014.
“I screwed up badly. I regret it,” he told Inside Edition. “I made a mistake and I’m paying for it.”
Joe Gibbons, once a lecturer at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also worked as a filmmaker. But he shocked those who knew him when he incorporated his job as a filmmaker with a new interest: Bank heists.
On New Year’s Eve 2014, Gibbons filmed himself walking into a Capital One branch in the Bowery section of Manhattan and demanded money from the teller in the form of a note.
He made off with more than $1,000 in cash and ran to the subway, where the dye pack inside the bag exploded and rendered the bills useless. Eight days later, he was arrested after police discovered him staying in a flophouse near the bank he robbed.
In the summer of 2015, he was sentenced to a year in prison after calling the robbery “performance art.” He pleaded guilty.
“I read the works of Arthur Rimbaud, who essentially believed a poet had to descend into the depths of all that was bad and report back,” he told the New York Post. “This whole thing has been one long project about discovering the disenfranchised portions of society.”
In July 2014, Scott Runge was sentenced to three years in prison for robbing an Ohio bank. Runge, who was the executive of PNC Bank robbed more than $1,000 from a Key Bank branch in February 2014.
When Runge was arrested for his crimes, he confessed to what he had done.
His lawyer, Doug Nicholas, blamed his addition to drugs as the reason he stole the money.
"Drugs don’t discriminate,” Nicholas told the judge at trial. "They don’t care if you work at a bank or own a sports team."
He added that his client “absolutely hit rock bottom.”
Perhaps one of the wildest bank robberies came in 2013, when police busted Warren Gladders in Missouri after the former lawyer and cop was involved in a shootout with a state trooper following a string of bank robberies.
In 2014, the then-65-year-old Gladders was sentenced to 45 years in prison for his crimes as an armed robber. He pleaded guilty to three bank robbery charges and a charge of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
During his sentencing, he expressed regret for what he had done, saying, “I apologize to anyone who was hurt by my actions, including the trooper.”
The motives for his robberies still remain a mystery to authorities. Court documents suggested he had money troubles.
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