Willie Sutton

(1901–1980)

Willie Sutton

Anecdote...

Willie Sutton, one of the most famous bank robbers of the twentieth century, was the subject of numerous books, a TV drama, and at least one song. He was also a favorite of newspaper reporters, who could count on him for the kind of quote that makes a headline bounce.

Sutton had spent most of his adult life in prison. Though he escaped more than once, his short bursts of freedom always ended with an arrest for bank robbery. In an attempt to learn why he continued along such a futile course, one reporter asked, “Willie, why do you keep robbing banks?”

“Because,” Sutton said smoothly, “that’s where the money is.”

Biographical Note: 

Willie Sutton was a U.S. bank robber. A tough Irish kid, born and raised near Brooklyn, N.Y., Sutton started his criminal activity at an early age and spent most of his life serving time in prison. In between prison terms, he managed to rob about 100 banks during a career spanning from the late 1920s to his final arrest in 1952.

More Information: 

Read The Robber, the quote, and the final irony, an account of one reporter’s obsession with Willie Sutton and the truth about this anecdote!