Case Study: Chase Manhattan Bank Robbery

Chris Voss

Lesson time 16:16 min

In 1993, two men held three employees hostage at a Chase Manhattan Bank in Brooklyn. Hear Chris’s techniques in action as he shares for the first time the tape recordings of his phone calls with the kidnappers.

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Topics include: From Bank Robbers to Business


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Here's a case study from my first real hostage negotiation, where I learned a lot about honing my skills as a negotiator. REPORTER: Well, David, at about 8:30 this morning, four people at least, two believed to be armed, attempted to hold up the Chase Manhattan branch in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. This is a nice section of New York City, by the way. - I'm in New York City one morning, getting ready to do an interview. One of my hostage negotiation compadres, one of my colleagues comes up to my desk and says, there's a bank robbery with hostages in Brooklyn. Let's go. We pull the car up. We're right on top of the inner perimeter. We bail out of the car, low crawl over to the bank across the street that's got the command post in it. Everyone has been seduced at the very beginning to assume that this is going to be a short, sweet operation. - Apparently, they tried to enter the bank as three employees were getting ready to open the branch. That resulted in the bank alarm going off, and the hostage drama began. Hundreds of police officers from the 78th Precinct arrived at the scene, cordoning off about four city blocks. No one's been moving in or out of this area except for the police since 8:30 this morning, which is about 5 and 1/2 hours now. A police tactical squad is on the scene, as well as a police chopper. The FBI and the NYPD have established contact with the alleged robbers. The three bank employees are OK as far as we know. Police are looking for a peaceful resolution to this hostage drama unfolding right now. Reporting live in New York. - We got the actual recordings from the Chase Manhattan Bank robbery hostage taking. We're going to go through when I came onto the phone. I was the second negotiator on the phone. I'd been given some guidance-- some guidelines to follow, and I was ready with my process-- I was ready with the process. And this is what happened. So what I've just started with is I'm already using a version of the late night FM DJ voice. I'm making a point to downward inflect with everything that I say. The other thing I've just done is I've created my identity. All I did was said, this is Chris, you're going to be talking to me now. Joe's gone. Now, our control-oriented negotiator over on the other side, his voice has just come up a little bit. He's a little rattled and he doesn't know exactly what to do with it. Now, what he's done is this is the first time that we've heard from a hostage the entire day. Now, he's not out of moves yet. This is a control-oriented negotiator himself. He's gone and gotten one of the hostages. He's going to put her on the phone just long enough to confirm that she's alive without actually raising the threat level. So at this point again, notice, I'm not really trying to hammer him a lot with his name. As a matter of fact, Billy is not his name. He wouldn't give us a name. That's just a name we came up with earlier to try to personalize ...

About the Instructor

As an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss persuaded terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way. Now he’s teaching you his field-tested strategies to help you in everyday negotiations, whether you’re aiming to improve your salary, the service you receive, or your relationships. Get stronger communication skills, game-changing insights into human nature, and more of what you want out of life.

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Chris Voss

Former FBI lead hostage negotiator Chris Voss teaches you communication skills and strategies to help you get more of what you want every day.

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