Periodically, discussions have arisen on this board concerning spelling errors in posted messages, and the impact of spelling errors (and netspeak/geekspeak) on the effectiveness of communicating the intended message. Without reopening that entire can of worms, I would just like to offer the attached story, gleaned from the Gainesville (Florida) Sun newspaper. Lest you think that poor spelling is a victimless crime, take heed from this poor sap that has learned the hard way - “spell well, or go to jail!”
Bank Robbery Linked To Misspelled Note
News Source: Gainesville Sun - Lise Fisher
An alleged bank robber should have checked a dictionary before passing a note to a Gainesville bank teller, police said.
That’s because investigators used the misspelled note to help identify a suspect in the Jan. 8 robbery at the Millennium Bank, 1807 NW 13thSt. Accused is Robert C. Whitney, 39, of Daytona Beach. Gainesville police issued a warrant for his arrest Tuesday.
The robber threatened to blow up the bank if his demands weren’t met, Sgt. Keith Kameg said.
“I have a bomb. Put this note with the money. If a dye pack blows, so do you,” Kameg said the note read.
In the note, however, the word “dye” had been misspelled as “die.”
Police do not believe the robber had a bomb. But, Kameg said, “It doesn’t change the fact that he put these bank employees through a horrific experience. Just because you don’t have it, if you make the threat, it’s the same as.”
Officers in Leon County stopped Whitney last week, Kameg said.
He already was wanted in connection with two bank robberies in Volusia County as well as other robberies in Hillsborough County.
By comparing information gathered about the bank robberies in Volusia County and gathering forensic evidence from the local case, Gainesville police were able to get a warrant for Whitney.
Kameg said the bank robberies in Volusia were identical to the Gainesville case, including the misspelled word on notes and the piece of paper used to write the notes that came from a day planner book.
“If anything says education is important to your future, this case says that,” Kameg said. “As simple as spelling one word wrong was instrumental in solving three bank robberies.”
Ocala Police also helped in the arrest, Kameg said. After Gainesville Police Detective David Cannon released information about the Gainesville bank robbery, Ocala Police Detective Steve Thibodeau contacted him about the Volusia County bank robberies.