We were about our business and the call came through to our switchboard – a bank robbery was in progress at so-and-so location. I heard a bunch of our robbery guys take off in their cars to the scene. In the end, the robber – robbers never seem to be too bright – had made off with some money but it had been marked and it was loaded with dye packs. The robber took his cash but then had very quickly pulled over and proceeded to start counting the money in his lap. What was he thinking? Anyway, the dye packs, of course, exploded. Not only was dye left all over the inside of his car but it also burned his lap pretty bad. Real bad, actually.
Our guys caught up with the perpetrator – with red ink all over him and all over the inside of his car – and did all of their detaining and arresting. The car and cash was brought back to our office for further inspection as evidence. Several of us were asked to get in the car and carefully check it out for evidence and, also, to try to collect up the red dyed money that had blown all over the inside of the car.
This was grunt work – we didn’t like being asked to do it – but it was our turn this time so we grudgingly put on some old clothes and coverings to do this nasty job. There was a reason no one liked cleaning up after a dye explosion…
There isn’t too much to this story other than to say that by the time we were done with this car – and after putting a whole lot of ripped up red bills in evidence baggies – we had red all over us from top to bottom. This dye was somewhat powdery but also kind of sticky and it was getting into our hair, under our fingernails, into our ears, and into every wrinkle that we had in spite of us wearing old clothes, coveralls, gloves, and hats. This stuff was really a mess.
And the reason no one liked cleaning up exploded dye packs was because the stuff would not come off. Alcohol or paint thinner could help but this created the proverbial “cure is worse than the disease” situation – smelling like petroleum products for awhile may not have been any better than looking red for awhile. Red dye literally had to just come off by itself over a period of several weeks – bathing, washing, scrubbing. What a mess.
There were never too many bank robberies where we were but it was always kind of a sign that there had been one when several people would be walking around the office for several weeks with tints of red on their hands, arms, and hair.
Truly, we all occasionally bore the curse of the exploding red dye packs.