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"Happy": They wired this thing up with, like, five thousand volts. What kind of bank does that?

"Grumpy": A mob bank. I guess The Joker's as crazy as they say.

When a crook robs an individual or organization without realizing that the victim has criminal ties and the ability to hit back with means outside of the law. Realization is typically an "Oh Crap!" moment.

Depending on the types of ties the victim has, the crooks might get a warning that they've made a fatal mistake. Other times they won't find out until the first drive-by on their mother's house.

This is a subtope of Mugging the Monster. In that trope, the mugger is typically a Mook and the monster is a main character, while in this trope, the robber is typically a main character and the victim is a villain.

For cases where characters are deliberately robbing criminals because they think they deserve it, see Just Like Robin Hood.

Examples of Robbing the Mob Bank include:


  • The Dark Knight. The opening scene of Nolan's second Batman feature is a literal robbing of a mob bank, perpetrated by The Joker. The Joker himself averts this trope, since he knows full well who he is stealing from. His clown-masked mooks, on the other hand...
  • The Sting. A team of con artists (Johnny Hooker, Luther Coleman and Joe Erie) inadvertently swindle a numbers runner for crime boss Doyle Lonnegan. Lonnegan assigns hit men to find and kill each of them, and the hit men appear and carry out attacks throughout the movie.
  • Beverly Hills Cop. Michael Tandino steals millions of dollars in bearer bonds from a man named Victor Maitland. Unfortunately for him Maitland is a major drug dealer, who sends hit men to find Tandino, recover the bonds and execute him.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds: Kip steals a car. Then they find the trunk full of cocaine and realize it probably belongs to a drug kingpin.

 Memphis: Where did you get this car?

Kip: In front of a restaurant in Chinatown!

Memphis: Do you even know why someone would leave a car like that with its keys in it?...Maybe because no one in that neighborhood would be stupid enough to try and rip this car off!

  • In The Bank Job, members of the British secret service need to retrieve incriminating photos of the princess from a criminal who has been using them as blackmail material to stay out of jail, so they set up some criminals to rob the bank where they are being stored. The criminals have no idea of the motive behind their instigator, and are unprepared when the real target, and other criminals who stored their incriminating evidence in the same bank, come after them.
  • The Usual Suspects: Someone hijacks a truck belonging to Keyser Soze. To make amends, they have to do him a favor.
  • In Snatch, three of the characters rob a legal bookmaking establishment secretly owned by a Complete Monster of a London Gangster.
  • In Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, the two main characters try to rob a bank to help a friend save his bar. Unfortunately for them the bank CEO is involved in the drug trade on the side, and the transport they swipe is carrying the newest designer drug. It goes downhill from there.
  • Drive: Standard's "simple" pawn shop heist was supposed to turn up $40,000. Instead, the crew finds half a million dollars of money stashed by an out-of-town mob. Then things get really bad.
  • In The Fast and the Furious 5, Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Connor assemble a team to rob drug kingpin Reyes completely blind.

Live Action TV

  • In one Burn Notice episode, Michael Weston once convinced some bank robbers that they were in the process of doing this.
  • The Sopranos.
    • In "46 Long", Christopher and Brendan Filone start hijacking trucks. The owner of the trucks pays Junior for protection and Junior orders them to stop, but their need to feed their drug addictions forces them to continue. In "Denial, Anger, Acceptance" Junior orders retaliation against them and Brendan is killed.
  • Monk: A man attempts to steal coins from a gumball machine in a barbershop. One of them was a rare penny worth millions due to his stealing it from US Mint. Little did he know that that barbershop was a front for a mob family and they all start shooting at him. The man manages to get a hold of a gun, kills everybody in the shop, and attempts to make it look like a feuding mob had attacked them.
  • Ziggy's backstory in Power Rangers RPM amounts to this. A low-level member of the mob itself, Ziggy got the chance to prove himself making a multi-million dollar shipment. But when he realized the shipment was of medical equipment that an orphanage of Littlest Cancer Patients sorely needed, he sent it to them instead (letting the mob think he took it himself so they wouldn't target the kids) and escaped into the wastelands outside the city. When he returned to civilization, he quickly got in with the Power Rangers through his new friend Dillon, which meant he was mostly protected from mob reprisals. Mostly.

Video Games

  • The plot of Saints Row: The Third is kicked off by a bungled bank heist; the Saints find out the hard way that the bank they're holding up is Syndicate property.
  • In an unusual twist to the trope, Batman: Arkham Origins features this trope as the turning point for the game. What's unusual about the twist is that everyone involved knew full well they were robbing a bank that was owned by Black Mask's organization beforehand (heck, if anything, that was the reason why Joker abducted Black Mask and subsequently faked his death, specifically to ensure he could successfully rob the bank by forcing Black Mask to disable various biometric systems in place. That, and most of the mob turned on Black Mask, anyway).
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