Australian man Corey Allan Donaldson has been deported from the US after serving a prison sentence for bank robbery. Picture: Wyoming Police
Australian man Corey Allan Donaldson has been deported from the US after serving a prison sentence for bank robbery. Picture: Wyoming Police

Bizarre way Aussie robber used his loot

EXCLUSIVE

A CONVICTED bank robber recently released from a US prison and deported to Australia has boasted about a heist he pulled off in which he "humiliated those who hate the poor".

Author Corey Donaldson, from Macclesfield, Victoria - who describes himself as "the Robin Hood bank robber" - has returned home after serving a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence in the US.

In his first Australian interview since his July deportation, Donaldson, 45, told news.com.au he was "God damn proud of what (he) did" in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on December 31, 2012.

As revellers all over the globe prepared to ring in the New Year, Donaldson disguised himself in sunglasses and a cap, then walked into a bank to carry out a "lone wolf style" heist in the ski resort town.

He feigned a South African accent during the holdup in which he told staff that Mexican drug gang cartel members had placed bombs in the snow outside and would blow up the bank and then hunt down and kill the manager if $US2 million was not handed over.

Corey Donaldson during a bank robbery on New Year’s Eve 2012 at the U.S. Bank in Jackson, Wyoming. Picture: AP/Jackson Police Department.
Corey Donaldson during a bank robbery on New Year’s Eve 2012 at the U.S. Bank in Jackson, Wyoming. Picture: AP/Jackson Police Department.

The manager - who later needed psychiatric treatment - emptied out the bank's safe and teller drawers and Donaldson walked away with $US140,000 cash. According to Donaldson, the heist lasted an extraordinary 90 minutes.

"I was in full view of all the moneychangers, without a single alarm being triggered," Donaldson said.

"Staff did not know what happened until I was gone.

"I secured $140,750 without touching any of it, got away slower than grandma, and stayed away, donating the cash to the needy across three states."

He spent the next 22 days on the run until his arrest in Clinton, Utah on January 22, 2013.

According to Donaldson, he didn't rob the bank out of greed, or to fund a lavish lifestyle. He claimed the heist "was about confiscating corrupt system cash and giving that cash to the poor".

"I gave it all away, and then some," he told news.com.au.

"I approached homeless people on the street and asked them how much money they needed to change their lives. I gave them what they asked for, and more.

"I also gave to organisations like the Salvo's and Volunteers of America.

"The typical response I received were hugs, shock, tears and gratitude. People were peeled off ice-laden streets into warm beds because of what I did."

CCTV footage shows Australian man Corey Allan Donaldson carrying out a bank heist in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Picture: Wyoming Police
CCTV footage shows Australian man Corey Allan Donaldson carrying out a bank heist in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Picture: Wyoming Police

But only $16,000 of the $140,750 was recovered and what happened to the rest has been disputed.

During Donaldson's 2013 trial, prosecutor Todd Shugart said that when the bank robber's chauffeur-driven SUV was pulled over during his arrest, $11,000 was found in envelopes addressed to his siblings in Victoria.

Donaldson had lived in the US for 20 years as a green card holder at the time of the heist.

The court also heard that Donaldson was staying in a "swanky" $347-a-night Salt Lake City hotel and was so well known there, staff new him by his alias Doobie Zonks.

"He certainly sought to benefit himself in this criminal scheme," Mr Shugart said.

Donaldson represented himself at his 2013 trial and told the jury he carried out the heist to help the homeless and to protest banks that preyed on customers.

"I felt compelled to spank the bank," Donaldson told news.com.au.

"I owned that compulsion."

It took just 50 minutes of deliberations for the jury to find Donaldson guilty.

He served a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence before being released and deported to Sydney on July 23 this year. He has since returned to Melbourne where he now resides.

"I planned and executed a Promethean bank heist for the express purpose of redistributing corrupt bank case to the poor and homeless, and delivered that cash accordingly," Donaldson told news.com.au.

"I am the Robin Hood bank robber.

"Am I proud of what I did?

"God damn right I am."

Corey Donaldson’s mugshot. Picture: Wyoming Police
Corey Donaldson’s mugshot. Picture: Wyoming Police

'AS AN AUSTRALIAN … IT'S VERY COOL TO ROB AN AMERICAN BANK'

Donaldson says his "crime days are behind" him but he's not ashamed of his past. In fact, he's extremely proud of it.

"Early news reports were that the bank was hit by an organised crime syndicate because of the professionalism that was involved," he said.

"The chagrin and embarrassment in learning that it was executed by a lone Aussie vigilante turned the tables on everything the Yanks thought they knew about bank jobs.

"As an Australian, it was very cool to rob an American bank, humiliating those who hate the poor with the finest heist.

"I regret there was not more money in the vault for me to confiscate."

But what of the emotional suffering caused to the bank manager and others caught up in the heist? Does he feel bad about that?

"Australia is going through the banking royal commission," he responded.

"How does it sit with the individuals in those banks that they cause mental suffering?

"So, we can't have the bankers suffering, but the people can suffer. Is that it?

"It was my design to get the job done without actual violence and weapons, and to do it in such a way that the bank manager would fear for his life as the homeless do every night -

job done."

 

Donaldson said he doesn't plan to carry out another heist but claimed it wouldn't take much for other criminals to pick up where he left off.

"Bank security in Australia is so atrocious that I could plan a bank heist at breakfast, execute the heist at lunch, then eat dinner in a pub," he said.

"Later in life, a man regrets the stand he did not make when he was young.

"Such anguish will not be mine."

 

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin


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