Ex-con helping ex-victims

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2004

When the well-dressed, smooth-talking young man walked into nearly 20 banks in the 1970s, no one batted an eye - until he whipped out a gun and demanded cash.

Joe Schapiro, known as the "The Gentleman Bank Robber," got away with his life of crime for years until his luck ran out. Schapiro was arrested and served nearly a decade in prison.

Believe it or not, it may have been the best thing that ever happened to him.

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Today, Schapiro works the other side of the fence as a security specialist that travels the country teaching banking and other front-line personnel ways to address security.

Sponsored by Collins Career Center, Schapiro will be the featured speaker at the fifth-annual Security Seminar at 6:30 p.m. today at the Radisson Hotel in Huntington, W.Va. The cost is $35.

"The seminar is beneficial to anyone who works in a bank, a convenient mart, retail or a situation where they could be confronted with a robbery situation," said Eva Christian, human resource development coordinator for CCC. "I think in just the past month, two convenient stores in Huntington were robbed. A hotel was also robbed."

Schapiro was brought back for the second straight year because the crowd of 100 people enjoyed him so much last year and his presentations are never the same, Christian said.

"His seminars are so interesting and there are changes in security issues throughout the country," she said. "He is constantly up to date and can bring new information to educate people."