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Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI's Most Elusive Criminals Paperback – June 30, 2010
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"Wanted" is, simply, a blast: funny, self-aware, amazingly informative about bank robbery, boats, cars, planes and -- far from least -- human nature.
Jesse Kornbluth 9-20-10 Head Butler
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I say "essentially" since onetime top ten most wanted criminal, "gentleman" bank robber Leslie Ibsen Rogge's writings have been organized, edited and annotated by his--let's face it--adoring nephew Dane Batty. Batty writes an intro, and comes on page from time to time to give some information or to set a scene amidst the fascinating narrative written by Rogge. I read the book in two settings. More devoted true crime readers will stay up until two in the morning and do it in one setting!
So here we have a guy who has several gifts. Obviously he has the gift of gab and is really a first class con artist as he proves again and again by talking people into doing things they normally would never do. Rogge is especially good at negotiating "deals" with cars, boats, house trailers--anything that can be traded or resold. He talks one idiot into helping him escape for a promise of $50,000 that Rogge says he has buried in California and will send to him (right). He talks his way across borders and out of scrapes and into the hearts of strangers. But he saves his best spiel for bank managers--always female, by the way, since Rogge realized (correctly) that they are less likely to feel the urge to play hero and try to stop the robbery in progress. His MO was to call ahead and arrange a meeting with the bank manager. He would arrive in a nice neat suit and tie with a fancy briefcase, sit down, take out a robbery note and hand it to the manager.Read more ›
Batty has spent a great deal of time promoting his book and I'd been keeping a watch on other's reviews, thinking it was a story I was interested in. So when Batty offered to send me an advanced reader's copy for review, I willingly accepted.
But you never know what you're going to get with first time authors. Often they have an excellent story to tell, just not much of a knack for telling it.
That is NOT the case here.
Batty doesn't actually tell Leslie Rogge's story; he has an inside scoop since Rogge is his maternal uncle.
Rogge tells his own story with a few commentaries from Batty thrown in for a relative's point-of-view.
And, let me tell you, Rogge may be a guy who stole an estimated $2 million in his career as a bank robber, but the guy sure knows how to tell a story.
Rogge skips all the childhood memories and delves right into his days of ripping off banks in a very gentlemanly fashion.
He never used violence to get the cash. His crimes involved no high speed chases.
No, they were about as lax as you're going to see with this serious of a crime.
When Rogge wasn't "sticking it to the man," he was sailing the world with his wife, Judy - who at first was oblivious to Rogge's source of income.Read more ›
And while most of it is written by the bank robber himself, the nominal author is not a professional writer --- he's Dane Batty, Rogge's much younger, totally adoring nephew.
The book had, in short, all the ingredients for a self-serving adventure story that just happened to fudge the morality of a life story that has the protagonist robbing around 30 banks for a score of about $2 million.
Wrong. "Wanted" is, simply, a blast: funny, self-aware, amazingly informative about bank robbery, boats, cars, planes and --- far from least --- human nature.
Best of all, there's not an apologetic line in it. Oh, sure, Leslie Rogge might have taken his considerable talents and put them to a use that was of benefit to Society --- but the thing is, he was pretty much born for the life of crime.
"A job?" Hunter Thompson wrote. "But how would I make any money?"
That could have been Leslie Rogge's motto.
Want a deep psychological dive into his childhood? Forget it. Rogge stole his first car at 13. In high school, he swiped his father's credit cards and an under-aged girl. The judge said, "I'll give you four choices --- now pick a service." He chose the Navy. "For the boats."
Remember the '67 Cadillac Eldorado? Guys wanted them so badly they were willing to pay a premium. Rugge managed to find several. Soon, he says, he was making $30-35,000 a week. Okay, so he did some time for transporting stolen vehicles and his wife fled with the kids --- his second wife would have a better sense of humor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The part describing the bank robberies were fantastic. But the second half was a complete borePublished 5 months ago by ImaPrettyGoodGuy
This is an amazing true life story of a genius turning the wrong way. A list of firsts. First to be caught by the Internet. Read morePublished 14 months ago by BOB P.
This man makes excuses throughout the book for being nothing better than a strongarm bandit.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
I had a great time reading this book. This is the story of Leslie (Les) Rogge, a man who robbed many, many banks - improving his system as he went. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by Mr. Caffee
I really enjoyed this book. Dane wrote a very good book about the exploits of Les. Les gets to tell his story in his own words. He had a very adventurous life. Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by Jesse Moore
A great read. And a timely piece. I think more than a few of us would rather see a bank get robbed than the other way around. The story was concise and well written. Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Frances Gallagher