From stockbroker to bank robber *

Jeanne Trantel thought she had the perfect life, but looking back, she would have liked to question it more. She thinks there was also a part of her “that just didn’t want to know what was going on”. Her husband Stephen Trantel was a hard worker but he had a criminal secret.

Three years before their marriage, Jeanne met Stephen at a restaurant on Long Island where he was a bartender. She knew straight away that she wanted a future with him.

Jeanne’s childhood friend Veronica Finnegan thought Stephen was a lovely, likeable guy.

When Jeanne and Stephen got married, he really wanted Jeanne to emulate her mother, who was a stay-at-home mom. Jeanne did not dream of this kind of life for herself, but she lived it for Stephen because she wanted to be a “nice wife”.

Stephen was a workaholic who was driven to get rich. Part of Stephen’s dream was to make sure he and Jeanne respected this image. He always wanted her to wear beautiful dresses with matching bags.

Jeanne says Stephen was a great father to their children Stephen and Ryan, to whom he was devoted.

They moved to Rockville Center, a small affluent town, to raise their family as Stephen’s career on Wall Street took off. Jeanne never really knew much about their finances, but she felt happy and in love.

Fairly quickly, she learned a shocking truth about their life and it all fell apart.

On September 11, 2001, Stephen’s car would not start, so he took a taxi to the train station to get to work. Of course, that was the day terrorist planes crashed into the World Trade Center, which was three blocks from where Stephen was working.

Jeanne panicked and called Stephen to see if he was okay, but he didn’t answer so she assumed the worst. He did not contact Jeanne until 8 p.m. Stephen told him that he was fine, but that he had missed his train because the taxi was late. Jeanne was relieved to learn that he was alive.

Not everyone was so lucky. Jeanne and Stephen lost many of their friends that day. Stephen’s job was shut down for several weeks due to the tragedy, and eventually he lost his job as a stock trader.

Jeanne tried to be positive during this scary financial time. One day she heard a call from a mortgage company saying she was two months behind in her payments. Stephen would try to make money by trading his own money in the stock market, which is a bit like gambling. Some days he made gains, but other days he took losses that put him in bad shape. mood.

Stephen got very nervous and nervous. He has become very calm and withdrawn from his family. He had been through a lot with 9/11, the loss of his friends and the loss of his job, but he didn’t want to open up. Jeanne and Stephen started to walk away. The following year, in August 2002, Stephen lost his mother.

Stephen became very angry after his mother passed away. He got very nervous and hyper. One day he ran out of the room after his wife said hello to him.

In October 2003, Jeanne picked up old Stephen for their birthday. He took her to Manhattan for dinner and it was like the good old days again. Jeanne noticed that Stephen was paying everything in cash. Jeanne had no suspicion about this behavior at the time, but now it was a huge clue as to what was really going on.

After their fun time in town, Stephen’s mood turned irritable and gloomy again. Jeanne began to suspect that he was cheating on her. During this time, Jeanne also noticed that she was being followed by a black car.

On November 27, 2003, on Thanksgiving, Stephen paced the lawn while talking to someone. When asked, Stephen said he was on the phone with his family or friends, but Jeanne felt that was a lie. His parents were worried about Stephen because of this strange behavior.

The next day, November 28, 2003, Stephen said he was going fishing with his uncle. Later he called and said they caught a lot of fish and it had been an amazing day. However, he was not home within hours of saying he would be home. Jeanne felt she could not contact him on September 11.

The next phone call changed her life forever. Police were on the other line and told him Stephen was under arrest for a series of bank robberies. Stephen told her he was innocent, and she believed him at first. She knew he had acted strangely, but she just couldn’t accept that it was because he was robbing banks.

When Jeanne saw him at the courthouse, Stephen looked incredibly sick and distraught. His bail was $ 500,000, which they couldn’t afford.

Jeanne went to visit Stephen in prison during a snowstorm. She wanted him to tell her the truth, but he lied to her anyway. Eventually, her father posted a bond.

Jeanne’s father was a prosecutor and spoke to the police about the case. He made Jeanne understand that there was a lot of evidence against him. When he got back on bail, Jeanne finally got Stephen to confess to her. He explained that he had lost all of their money on the exchange. He was desperate, so he decided to fix his financial situation by robbing banks.

Jeanne had the impression that there were two of her husband: a good one and a bad one. She felt like Stephen had left her when he chose to rob banks, so she divorced.

How Stephen robbed banks

Stephen had disguised himself with sunglasses, a hat, latex gloves and a jumpsuit over his clothes. He hit during quiet times when no one else was at the bank.

He handed the cashier a note saying, “I have a gun, give me the money.” He put the money in a brown paper bag and walked out of the bank without a fingerprint or proof of identification. He always knew the bank layouts and where the cameras were.

He would choose a bank with a cafe nearby. He would buy a cup of coffee and leave his cup of coffee on a mailbox or on a ledge. He used his child’s school backpack to wear his disguise. He would put on the disguise a few blocks away, go to the bank, get the money. Then he would find a corner, take off his disguise, and go back to where he left his coffee and pick it up. His reasoning for the coffee was that he thought no one would think that a guy walking down the street enjoying a cup of coffee had just robbed a bank.

How did he get caught?

From July to November 2003, detectives noticed an increase in bank robberies on Long Island and a decrease in the time between banks. Police took their break when Stephen left a sticky note behind, which had a fingerprint on it. They scoured it in their database and got a Stephen Trantel DUI hit from 1984.

The detectives began to monitor after learning her name, which is why Jeanne believed she was being followed.

On March 22, 2004, Stephen Trantel pleaded guilty to three first degree robberies. He received a nine-year prison sentence.

In 2010, Leanne published a book about her experience titled Blessings in disguise (affiliate link.)

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