May 2, 2011
An excerpt from Dane Batty’s new book: Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI’s Most Elusive Criminals (Nish Publishing, 2011)
by Dane Batty
My partner, Bo, and I were pretty successful. So much so that we bought a condo in the Houston area, furnished it and had a car in the garage for an emergency getaway. We sat around night after night getting stoned and trying to come up with original ideas to make money. Since Bo was broke, we decided that we would do two banks, one after the other, and use the distraction of the first to reduce the police presence at the second. We also wanted a natural barrier between the banks, some type of separation that would slow down the response from the first bank to the second. The simplest would be mountains or a river, something natural. It was in the fall, so we wanted to stay in the South and didn’t want to go more than a day and a night away. We planned on taking my motor home and leaving my wife, Linda, and the car. We would be gone a week, max. Linda had no idea.
After scattering maps all over the floor, we came up with two possibilities. The first was East and West Memphis with the Mississippi River in between the two. The second was Baton Rouge with the same barrier. We ruled Memphis number two and turned our attention to Baton Rouge. The big city was on the east of the river, and little Baton Rouge on the west side was on the way home back to Houston. Things were coming together, and we took off going east on I-10.
We found a trailer court on Baton Rouge’s east side that was real low-key. Very easily, we acquired all the frequencies for the scanner. In town, we found very detailed maps of the entire community and fire department maps showing the grids that sometimes made a big difference as to how the police react to major crimes.
It was time to go to work and find every bank in the area and put them on our maps including cop shops, sub-stations, highway patrol and county sheriff stations. The biggest part of the city, about 400 thousand people, was separated by the river from the 20 thousand on the west, so it seemed logical that we would hit one on the east, come west and hit number two, then leave on the freeway west. Baton Rouge-proper was a big challenge. It is a southern town, with mostly blacks, with a medium to high crime rate—that meant a lot of police. Our frequency director books showed how many cop cars and radios, how many hand-helds (street cops) and how many repeaters, and the same research went into the highway trooper and parish cops. Most of the time, we listened to the scanners main net for crimes and how they were handled. Although by law all the radio transmitting in the U.S. must have a license from the FCC, the cops would use a few other frequencies for their top crimes that they for sure didn’t want people to listen to. If a crime happened, the dispatcher might say, “All detectives to Tac Number One.” People don’t know about the frequency, so they didn’t get to listen. When this happened, I would turn my scanner to scan and try to find the frequency they were on. After a few nights and a weekend, I could begin to figure out their methods of operation, including where their “eyes in the skies” were and their hours as well. It was information that could make or break a good robbery.