A man who was hoping to make it big as a classical guitarist sought to raise the funds necessary to attend music school in Montreal by robbing banks. But even after he made it there, he didn’t seem to be able to give up.
Mark Steven Vandendool’s troubles began when he needed money to repair his car so he could attend the Schulich School of Music’s auditions in February 2006. He took a fake gun and went to a nearby bank to demand money. “Hurry up, your life depends on it,” he reportedly told one bank worker.
That raid secured him over $5,000, and he was able to repair his car and make the audition. But he quickly realised he would require more money for tuition fees, and this led him to attempt a series of bank robberies.
His first attempt proved disastrous, and he was arrested and sentenced to five years’ prison time six months later. But he was determined to pursue his goal and continued practicing and teaching guitar while behind bars. He was granted parole and this time with the financial support of his parents, he managed to get accepted again at Montreal’s Schulich School. The school still has details on its website of a recital he performed in 2014, including pieces by Bach and Chopin.
This story might sound like it has a happy ending but unfortunately, after completing his studies and setting up his own guitar teaching company, Vandendool was caught up in more crime. He was arrested this March after leaving the scene of a bank robbery in Montreal and within a day, police had evidence linking him to nine other robberies since last October.