Biker bandit signs on to hawk motorcycles
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Biker bandit signs on to hawk motorcycles

A bank robber who pulled off 21 heists is hired to pitch his signature getaway vehicle

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Rony Leibowitz, the one and only Ofnobank (photo credit: Yasminmerhav/CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Rony Leibowitz, the one and only Ofnobank (photo credit: Yasminmerhav/CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The height of chutzpah or just using their business kop? Maybe both.

In an effort to snag some visibility, a local motorcycle company hired a former motorcycle-riding bank robber Rony Leibovitz to star in its new commercial. Leibovitz is the original “Ofnobank” (a combination of the words “motorcycle” and “bank” in Hebrew), having earned that nickname for using a motorcycle as his mode of transport in a spate of bank robberies a quarter of a century ago.

It was 1990, and Leibowitz, then 36, was experiencing some financial trouble. He robbed 21 bank branches wearing a motorcycle helmet and hiding his motorcycle (an Italian Moto Guzzi) in a truck parked nearby each time.

It took months for the police to apprehend him — because they were looking for a motorcycle, not a truck.

When he was finally caught, Leibowitz admitted to all the bank robberies and cooperated fully with police investigators. He returned all the stolen money and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which was eventually reduced to 14 years, and then eight. He now lectures about prison survival.

“I’m the only bank robber who ever returned all the money he stole,” said Leibowitz in a recent interview with “Good Evening with Guy Pines.”

“But I can’t deny it, there’s a definite rush when you put the helmet back on, and hear the police sirens wailing behind you,” he said during the filming of the commercial.

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