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A bank is getting robbed and one of the robbers tells one of the tellers to give him all of the money. The teller tells him she doesn't have access to it.

Suddenly the phone rings. The robber tells the teller to answer it and not give them away. She picks up the phone and it happens to be her mother. She tells her mother "Is this an emergency mom? Call me when I get home, I could use some help painting." Then she hangs up.

The robbers continue to try to get into the vault but twenty minutes later the police show up with the teller's mom and arrest them all.

How did the police know about the robbery?

(First heard in my 10th grade math class)

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this a question you created yourself or did you find it elsewhere? $\endgroup$ – hexomino Oct 15 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ @hexomino Again, like before, it is one my math teacher shared with the class back in grade 10 (he shared riddles every Friday). $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 15 at 11:13
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The bank teller covered the microphone on her phone (I'm assuming it's a mobile phone, so this can be done discretely with only one finger) except when saying the words "emergency", "get", and "help".

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    $\begingroup$ The way I learned it was the teller muted the phone (a non-mobile phone) and said "emergency...call...help", but your answer will suffice! $\endgroup$ – ThatOneNerdyBoy Oct 15 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ If she tried that trick on my home phone, then there would be audible bips whenever she muted or unmuted, not very discrete... :) $\endgroup$ – eru-cs Oct 15 at 11:48
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Another explanation:

the teller used the phone tall as a distraction and secretly pressed the police call button (which does not trigger any audible alarm or so, to keep robbers in the dark). The robbers just continued the heist thinking they're safe.

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For example it would be easy to decode the message if:

The teller is a policewoman too and mom is a painter (I need a help from you, call the police)

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If you think outside the box and the mom was a cryptographer...

It could be a code, the second to last word before each punctuation mark.

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