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A Terrified Bank Teller Cowered Under Her Desk During A Robbery, But Was She A Victim Or The Heist’s Mastermind?
Calia Kane was a promising young woman just out of high school when a chance encounter sent her on a path that led to prison.
As Calia Kane cowered under the desk of the bank where she worked, following the demands of the three masked gunman who had burst through the Wells Fargo Bank doors just moments earlier, she struggled to control her breathing.
“I just felt like time froze for a minute and I had to tell myself this is really happening,” she said on the latest episode of “Super Heists,” airing Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.
But what others around her didn’t realize was that Kane, an 18-year-old honors student, was the mastermind behind the brazen Bala Cynwood, Pennsylvania robbery.
Kane had carefully orchestrated the heist with her boyfriend, Marquis Wilson—an up-and-coming Philadelphia-area rapper who had hoped to use the ill-gotten gains to launch his music career.
Wilson and fellow bank robbers Malcom Moore and Martril Foster made off with more than $81,000, but they wouldn’t be satisfied by the single hit and would ultimately head down a path that would send all four to prison.
Kane’s foray into crime was a stark contrast from her happy childhood, growing up in an affluent suburb with a supportive family, including her father, who made a career in the FBI.
“Growing up, our family like epitomized the American dream,” Kane said of the family’s house on a hill and pool in the backyard.
Kane's future looked bright. She had graduated high school as an honors student and had her choice of colleges before her, but the 18-year-old wanted to take the first semester off to find a job.
She was hired at a local Wells Fargo bank, but a chance meeting at a local bus stop would quickly derail her from her course.
“I think a lot of times her being naïve it allows her to get taken advantage of because people see that and they prey upon that,” Kane’s older sister Jessica Atkins told “Super Heists.”
Kane ran into Moore and his friend Wilson, who initially told her he was a youth minister.
“He looked fun, he looked alive,” she said. “I did feel like it was the stars aligning.”
She was immediately intrigued and called Wilson a few days later, only to realize his claims of being a religious leader had been nothing more than a pick-up line.
Kane was undeterred and continued to talk with Wilson, who told her of his dreams of becoming a successful rapper using the name Carpe Diem.
“It was after listening to one of his songs that I told him I loved him,” she told “Super Heists.” “It literally all happened so fast.”
But, Wilson told her that his money problems were slowing down his dreams and after their first date, he asked if he could rob her workplace.
Kane initially tried to talk him out of the plan, but after he told her how he planned to pull the job off, she realized he would need her help to make a successful getaway.
“Every plan he proposed, it was like Swiss cheese,” she recalled. “There were so many flaws in his plans.”
The group planned to pull off the heist on Nov. 4, 2013 during Kane’s regular shift. As an employee at the bank branch, she was able to offer her accomplices valuable information, like instructing them to park in a spot in the parking lot that wasn’t captured by surveillance cameras and agreeing to signal the robbers during a lull in business.
They also tried to recruit a third man to act as the lookout, but their first choice backed out of the deal and they enlisted Foster to take the man’s place.
They planned to split the cash, but Kane decided she’d rather have her proceeds go to Wilson’s goals of achieving stardom.
“In a perfect world, Marq would have become the famous rapper he had aspired to be and I would have been his trophy wife and we’d have several kids by now in a mansion,” she said.
On the day of the robbery, the impatient gunmen burst into the bank just before 11 a.m., even though Kane was not prepared.
The armed men forced the customers to lay on the ground as they barked commands.
“Marq was so callous and amused at the fear that he was instilling in everyone in the bank,” Kane told “Super Heists.” “One of the tellers was actually threatened directly. He laughed and said, ‘You don’t want to die for the bank’s money, do you?’”
According to Montgomery County Det. Walt Kerr, the men took off with more than $81,000.
“Most bank robberies are a couple thousand dollars,” Kerr told the show. “This was the largest that I had ever seen in my career.”
The bank robbers fled to Georgia, while Kane stayed behind to talk with investigators. But the stolen loot would vanish as quickly as it had appeared after the trio were stopped in North Carolina for speeding and authorities confiscated the large bag of cash believing it had been related to drug dealing.
The group decided to hit another Wells Fargo bank to re-gain their money and this time Kane not only helped with the planning, but also assisted by going inside the bank on Nov. 12, 2013 to scout the location and count the number of customers before the robbery.
This time the group made off with about $80,000, using a rented moving van to aid in their getaway.
The thieves fled to Georgia to lay low, but Kane became increasingly concerned about what she said was a controlling and abusive relationship with Wilson.
Investigators were also trying to find creative ways to try track down the bank robbers, by releasing the surveillance tape of the bank robbery to the public and offering a $10,000 reward for information.
The reward attracted the attention of the man Wilson had initially tried to recruit for the job and he reached out to authorities to share what he knew.
It was the tip investigators had been waiting for to identify the suspects in the brazen robbery.
The man told authorities that the robbers had been working with someone on the inside and after tracking down Wilson’s phone records they were able to identify Kane as a willing participant in the heists.
“I would never say that I regret the time I spent in prison,” Kane told “Super Heists” about getting caught. “I needed that time. It literally makes me sick to my stomach to know that I was able to love somebody so hard who didn’t care about me at all.”
To learn more about how authorities were able to take the crew down and where they are today, tune in to "Super Heists," Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.