Santa Ana's Oscar Omar Rodriguez walked into a Bank of America in April 2012, sat down at a desk and used a sticky note pad to scribble a criminal communication.
"I need money fast," he wrote before his blunder of forgetting to finish a sentence. "Please don't try to pull any."
A female banker read the note and became puzzled.
She asked him to clarify: "Don't pull anything? Or, don't touch anything [like an alarm]?"
The question frustrated Rodriguez and he gave contradictory commands. He wanted her to give him $18,000 in cash, but he also sought to keep her hands on the desk where he could see them. Realizing she wasn't dealing with Einstein, she told the bandit to remain at her desk while she walked over to the bank manager.
She informed the manager, "I'm being robbed," and the defendant's hope for loot ended with the swift activation of an alarm.
According to court records, Rodriguez has now twice botched robberies. A year before the bank robbery attempt, he walked into a Santa Ana grocery store, pretended he possessed a gun and demanded money. A clerk merely locked the cash register and stared at him. Frustrated, he ran away empty-handed.
The robber's father claims his son was a special education student with learning disabilities, but a psychologist reported after an interview that the defendant knows right from wrong.
Either way, Rodriquez, 26, will have plenty of time to improve his writing skills after the Orange County District Attorney's office won a conviction.
He's serving a seven-year punishment inside Wasco State Prison.
A review of the case this month by the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana found no errors.