The thief and brigand on the cross has stolen horses, jewels, money, children; he has spoiled and plundered caravans. But now he steals heaven. He picks the lock of the gate of heaven with the key of repentance.
An old legend gives the names of the two thieves as Titus and Dumacus, and tells us that when they were crucified they were both well advanced in years. Long years before, when Joseph and Mary were in flight to Egypt with the infant Jesus, their caravan was waylaid by these brigands. Dumacus was for destroying Joseph and Mary and the child; but Titus, caught with the beauty of the child in Mary's arms, persuaded his companion to spare their lives and, addressing the child, said: "O blessed child, if the day should ever come when I shall need mercy, then on that day remember this deed."
Bankers are working on the problem of thievery from within. In the past, most embezzlements have been pulled by "loyal, trusted employees who never even took a vacation"—so no one else could get a peek at the books.
Today, banks insist everyone—including the president—take a vacation at irregular intervals so a different employee can get a look at the records.
Robert Dietsch, Scripps-Howard staff writer, writes: "Defalcations against banks were at a high level last year," the American Bankers Association reported. All told, the ABA estimated $15 million was embezzled in 1250 instances, or $3 million more than the previous record in 1960. There were 113 cases involving $10,000 or more, but the biggest by far involved the $2 million Mrs. Bernice Geiger took from the Sheldon (Iowa) National Bank and solicitiously (or so it seemed) distributed among her fellow townspeople.
Mrs. Geiger is now serving a 15-year sentence.
"Last year," the association wrote, "427 bankers were convicted of violations of the federal reserve act"—stealing money. Another 300 were awaiting trial or being hunted.
But the ABA also assured bank depositors that most embezzlement losses were covered by insurance and that the thieves in the business represented only one-tenth of one per cent of the seven hundred thousand persons employed. Banks lost another $2.4 million to "strangers"—outside holdup men.