In 1993 I was employed by Anchor Coin Gaming Company (now defunct) and worked swing shift (3pm-11pm) in the money vault. I mostly worked all alone except when a service technician’s shift ended and I collected and counted their daily cash banks. It was a difficult job that required heavy lifting and tedious hours spent calculating spread sheets. I was the money guy. All cash transaction began and ended with me.
Each night, before I closed the vault, all currency had to be counted and locked away in a large safe that was located in a separate room we also used for coin storage. There were three alarms to activate: the coin room, the vault, and the main building. Once the alarms were set, I was free to leave the property. Unfortunately, Anchor Coin did not have a security guard on staff to monitor suspicious activity and that is how my nightmare began.
One night, as I walked across Anchor’s dimly lit parking lot after my shift ended, two individuals wearing American President Halloween masks and brandishing firearms approached me from behind. One of the men pointed a gun at the back of my head and demanded entry into the building. They wanted the money in the vault….ALL OF IT!
Luckily, I was not alone that night because I had offered a service technician a ride home. It was a good thing he was there because the new “emergency” alarm code for the main building, given to me that morning, was invalid and my co-worker quickly jumped in and used his code instead. The new code was supposed to notify the police of an emergency if we added a few extra numbers to our normal alarm code sequence.
From there it was a typical robbery. I was forced to deactivate two more alarms and open the cash vault. Once the thieves gained access, they forced us to lie face down on the floor while they loaded up their bags with cash. The thugs even took money right out of our wallets! After that, they tied our hands to our face with duck tape and lead us into a nearby bathroom, locked the door and fled the scene.
We were lucky to be alive. The worst moment of that night came when I was lying on the floor, gun pointed at my head, wondering if I was about to be shot and killed. It was a horrible feeling of helplessness and fear. I spent many months after that incident looking over my shoulder for suspicious strangers. The culprits were eventually caught and it turned out to be an inside job by an employee, who recruited two teenagers to carry out the robbery.
The entire incident infuriated me (including all the blame given and denied between my bosses) and I refused to return to work until they hired an armed security team to protect us. Shortly after the incident, I sketched this drawing depicting Anchor Coin as a beacon for would-be criminals. I hung it in the breakroom until the trial was over and those involved were convicted.