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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tales of the Slate Belt - Ron Angle and The Bank Robber

Bob Cartwright used to brag that Portland is the Cancun of the Lehigh Valley. He'd tell me its water tastes like Perrier, and caution the rest of us are all downstream. I hear lots of stories about Portland and the Slate Belt from that region's seanchaĆ­, Ron Angle. He's a master storyteller, which leads me to believe there must be at least some Irish in him, despite his claims to the contrary. Cartwright claims Ron inherited this gift from his father Fred.

Not long ago, having survived Ron's guard geese, I visited with both Ron and his wife Sharon for dinner. Another fellow showed up and Ron began to spin his yarns. Some may even be true! I love the written word, but there's nothing like listening to a seanchaĆ­. Angle has loads of stories, featuring numerous topics. But he always returns to Portland, where he grew up, and the Slate Belt.

In all the years I've known Ron, I only recently heard this one. Angle was once involved in a bank robbery, and wasn't the robber! In fact, he nearly foiled it.

Ron at one time worked for the Second Nat'l Bank of Pen Argyl. He started out as a teller, but became a repo man who excelled at collecting bad debts. His methods were often unconventional, and probably illegal, but they worked. They include a trip to Philly's deepest and darkest ghetto, where he once found himself surrounded by a group of angry blacks when they caught him trying to repossess a Caddy. The owner had removed the battery, and Angle was caught when he put in a new one.

He carried a gun, and I suppose he could have used it, but he would have died. That is probably the day he discovered that he has a much more powerful weapon - his tongue. He not only talked his way out of this jam, but left this gang on good terms.

The only person I know who was as good at getting into a pickle, and then talking his way out of it, was my Dad.

I'll tell you his repo man stories some other day.

Bank officials were quick to promote Angle because he delivered, and he eventually found himself with a hot Mustang and in charge of security. This was in the early '70s, before cell phones, but Angle wanted a car phone. The bank refused to spend the money, a decision it would soon regret.

There had been a rash of bank robberies in the area, so Angle was visiting all the branches each day to see if all was well. This included what is now the PNC Bank in Plainfield Township, right beyond the fork separating Rte 191 and Sullivan Trail. Angle pulled in and could see people standing inside with their hands up in the air.

He pulled into the parking lot, and saw one car, a beat-up old junker, that looked out of place. He pulled into the other side of the parking lot, and waited for the robber to make his exit. His plan was to run the guy over and then shoot him.

But when the robber exited the branch, he was not alone. He had the branch manager with him as a hostage. And instead of going to the beat-up old car (which turned out to belong to a neighbor), the robber had the manager get in his own car.

As they left, Angle followed along Route 191, going right by state police cruisers with their emergency lights headed in the opposite direction, responding to the robbery. Eventually, the bank robber realized he was being followed, and picked up the speed, but Angle was in a Mustang. The guy eventually pulled into a parking lot and spun the car around and fingered to Angle to come over. Angle shook his head No, but the robber pointed a gun at the manager's head. So Angle pulled alongside, and the robber told him not to follow or the bank manager would be dead. He said he'd release the manager once he was sure he was free, and then took off.

Angle waited a few minutes and then took off, but this time was looking for the bank manager. He found him near the Belfast exit off Route 33. The robber had parked his car there and had now made his getaway.

Angle and the manager returned to the bank and explained what had happened to the police, whom Angle said were moving in slow motion. Instead of hopping onto Route 33, troopers were more interested in his date of birth and his addresses for the last 17 years.

The bank robber was long gone before the staties started looking for him.

But he continued to rob banks. On his 11th robbery, he screwed up. He had walked into the bank and they closed the door behind him. It was quitting time, but he thought they were onto him and freaked out and ran. Police caught up to him walking along Route 191, but they still did not have enough.

The FBI was able to piece it all together and eventually arrested the guy.

They actually made their arrest while he was coaching a baseball game in New Jersey.

The guy had a gambling problem and owed a lot of money to mob loan sharks. In exchange for his cooperation, he got a five year sentence for 11 robberies.

There is an old link to the robber's arrest in The Daily Intelligencer from July 9, 1971, but I am unable to reproduce it here because it is copyrighted.

By the way, the day after the robbery, the bank got Angle a car phone.


Anonymous said...

That bank in Plainfield Twp will be closing in a few months ):

Anonymous said...

That's sad.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't he fired from either the Plainfield or Penn Argil Bank?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Anonymous said...

And now onto the portion of our program for Ron Angle bashing-

Release the dogs!

Anonymous said...

You can say Angle and an a-hole are the same. But at least a sphinxter serves a purpose. Angles serves himself. Anyway you have the nerve to oppose Trump! Angle is more self serving. GO back to the lady of west easton, you deserve each other! SMOOCH!

Anonymous said...

Did he tell you about the time when he, (Angle) got caught stealing gas at the Reagle Dodge dealership in Pen Argyl? He had done it repeatedly before he got caught!

Anonymous said...

I admit that was a pretty good story, there's always a but, I love the story about the Twinkies a little bit more, and the Best story is about how they chased him down the street when he was stealing socks

Anonymous said...

Good shit verbal slinging story and a true to life history lesson?! Those that talk of the goddess of puss and the spinkter are one in the same as the snake oil sales people locally and employeed tose similar butt more like giggles and jiggles?! They talk about this west Easton lady as if she is allready with the notorious hamilton street gang o thugs help to engineer a Nue cheZZy frenchfri sauce?!
Bernie you too have made it perfectly clear to the toilet brigaide and gloryhole gatherers of local advertiZementalistZ that you know both are unfit yet the antagonistZ keep it up, Anyonelse Butt Listed Above!!!
This weekend spin a story that describes the local vaticans involvement in the arena agenda design making up the descritive version of mine of the triboroZ twiZtZ?
RE:publican redd no party affilliation

Anonymous said...

Ron Angle is by far my favorite elected official in the local area. Those drinking the Hatorade are sad people.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The fact that these haters don't say who they are says all that need be said about them. They challenge another person's integrity when their failure to identify themselves reveals they have no integrity themselves.

Anonymous said...

Bernie in all fairness moist people are not interested in being hounded to the poor house by a paid bunch of lawyers. It is pretty clear that when you watch Donald Trump you are seeing a big boy version of Ron Angle.

Bernie O'Hare said...

When you post a personal attack but can't sign your name, you are in no position to spout off about fairness. You are however in a good position to talk about cowardice and jealousy.

Anonymous said...

Try the Portland national bank. He worked there to.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That is where he started once he was discharged from active duty by the Marines.

Anonymous said...

Ron is a fellow Marine? Now I know why he is my favorite.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We can't all be perfect. Go ARMY!

Anonymous said...

Angle for County Executive - Let's make Northampton County great again!

Patriot2 said...

Agree that Trump & Ron Angle are birds of the same feather & would love to see Ron run for county Executive as he would truly shake things up. Then he could make the pitch to combine Northampton & Lehigh County to cut government overhead & taxes. He was fun as county councilman!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Though Ron will vote for Trump, he actually wanted Michael Bloomberg to run. Is it a good idea to combine LC and NC? Not so sure about that at all. Conservatives claim to support small government, then propose combining two of the biggest.

Patriot2 said...

Significant I

Cost savings with combination I f a businessman leads the merger

John Balek said...

I ran against Ron in the 1991 Republican Primary in which there were 7 candidates. Although I didn't subscribe to EVERYTHING Ron said, I found him to be honest with me, and you had to love his sense of humor. I like Ron. I miss the Slate Belt. I'm now in an area where you can't get Pork Roll, Scrapple, Ring Balogna, or Pasties. I live in "Food Hell". Yeah, I'd love to return to Mount Bethel, but my home is now in Scriba, NY, along beautiful Lake Ontario. Ron, if you are reading this, have a friend contact me on Facebook, so we can connect.