When Good Heists Go Bad
When Good Heists Go Bad complete
"When Good Heists Go Bad" mission completion screen
Story arc

3rd Street Saints (prologue)


Johnny Gat
Josh Birk


Marked: 17. Minimum kill: 1[1]

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"When Good Heists Go Bad" is the first mission in Saints Row: The Third.

Josh Birk: "You're robbing a bank dressed like yourselves?"
Johnny Gat: "Hell yeah. Who doesn't wanna be Johnny Gat?"
When Good Heists Go Bad intro
Josh Birk and Johnny Gat, before beginning the heist on Stilwater 1st National Bank.


A brief expository opening crawl briefly explains that in the several years after the events of Saints Row 2, the 3rd Street Saints have evolved into a "media empire". Josh Birk, a method actor who is preparing to film a movie based on the 3rd Street Saints, has accompanied Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and Playa as they prepare to heist the Stilwater 1st National Bank to better understand his role. After watching a Saints Flow commercial starring Pierce, he and the others don their Johnny Gat mascot suits in disguise and exit the elevator to begin the heist.

Birk is initially disappointed with the heist; he derides the gang as "a bunch of pussies" as they stand around signing autographs for the visitors. However, it is quickly revealed that the bank is more than ready to withstand the 3rd Street Saints, and the group struggle as they fight through the bank's red-clad security guards. As they attempt to airlift the bank's vault using a Stork helicopter, Birk accidentally trips an alarm (believing it to be the door-release button for the vault) and the SWAT arrive. Birk flees as the Saints are overwhelmed, and Playa is ultimately caught.


When Good Heists Go Bad - helicopter exploding

This mission automatically starts upon starting a new game. It is not possible to exit this mission, only to restart it.[2]

After the opening cutscenes finish, the mission begins with under fire. Playa is armed with a level 2 45 Shepherd, a TEK Z-10, a AS3 Ultimax, and a level 4 K-8 Krukov, all with infinite ammo.

Kill guards

There are 3 armed tellers in the bank lobby, joined by 2 security guards.

Behind the closed doors, Gat kills the first guard, leaving 3 marked security guards on the ground floor and 2 Morningstar gang members upstairs.

Playa is not required to fire, as the other Saints can kill all enemies.

Go upstairs

Go upstairs.

Kill guards

6 marked Morningstar gang members come down the stairs.

Playa is not required to fire, as the other Saints can kill all enemies.

Go upstairs

Head up the next stairs.

Go to the vault

At the top of the stairs, Shaundi is fighting with a Morningstar gang member, but only if Playa does not enter the room before Shaundi, and if the enemy has not already been killed.

Enter the vault room trigger another cutscene.

Go upstairs

More Morningstar gang members arrive in the lobby below, but are not required kills.

Go set the explosives

Either sign an autograph for a fan, an early introduction to the similar Photo Op Collectibles later in the game, or just ignore/kill them and set the explosives above the vault.

Defend yourself

After Birk sets off the alarm and flees, SWAT arrives. A Flashbang goes off, which cannot be avoided no matter where Playa is standing, or where the camera is pointed.

The SWAT members not marked enemies, but come in waves regardless. First, 4 SWAT enter through the windows, followed by 4 more. Another 4 come through the window, followed by 4 more through the next window, this time carrying Riot Shields.

After the second group is killed, 2 SWAT enter along the balcony and are repeatedly replaced up to 5 times as they are killed, independent of the window waves.

These are not required to be killed to trigger the next objective, but Gat and Shaundi will target them anyway.

Shoot the helicopter

A helicopter flies in and fires bullets and rockets into the bank, and must be damaged to a certain level before the next objective is triggered.

The Tornado cannot be destroyed, even using Cheats to spawn an Annihilator RPG.

Playa is not required to fire, as Shaundi and Johnny Gat are capable of bringing the helicopter health to the required level.

(Vault ride)

The finale of the mission does not contain an objective, and features Playa atop the vault as the Stork helicopter attempts to airlift it out of the building.

Playa is not required to fire at anything other than the Tornado in the final section.

During this scripted sequence, Playa moves from one end of the vault to another, holding on in various places as the Stork manoeuvres between the bank and a nearby building. The low Health beep is triggered after being shot, but despite this section having a Checkpoint, it is not possible to be Smoked.

There are waves of SWAT, both coming up the stairs and being dropped off by Eagle helicopters, as well as Oppressors containing Sniper Specialists. The Tornado returns, and this time must be shot by Playa with approximately 16 bullets in order to reduce the health to 1/4 and trigger the final cutscene.

The next mission, "I'm Free - Free Falling", continues immediately after the Player Customization following this mission.



Main article: Newscasts
When Good Heists Go Bad radio newscasts media 00024
Jane Valderamma: "The celebrity of the 3rd Street Saints was put to a violent and destructive test in Stilwater. Patrons of a local bank were subjected to a mock hold-up by this internationally popular gang. However, excitement was replaced with panic when shots rang out and blood began to decorate the lobby. During the ensuing firefight, the bank's vault was ripped from the building, showering rubble down onto the bystanders below. The extent of the damage landed the Saints, like so many celebrities before them, in jail - at least for a few hours. This is Jane Valderamma with your Celebrity Crime News."


  • This mission takes place at the Stilwater 1st National Bank, and is the only mission to be set in Stilwater in Saints Row: The Third (although the opening cutscene of "Return to Steelport" takes place in Stilwater).
  • Josh Birk holds two 45 Shepherds in the opening cutscene but carries KA-1 Kobras during gameplay.
  • The cutouts of Killbane inside the bank were also used as promotional art for him.[3]
    • The decapitated cutout of Killbane also appears in "Hangar 18 1/2".
  • It is possible to escape the bank and explore "Stilwater" by using the Cheat "givesatchel" and using Satchel Charges to ragdoll Playa outside the bounds of the map.[4] This rendition of Stilwater is approximately one square kilometer of empty streets. The ground and surrounding buildings are solid, but neither the streets nor buildings match the geography of Stilwater from Saints Row or Saints Row 2; the bank itself is just two floors floating high over the city.
    • It is possible to reach Steelport by jumping into the water and warping to shore. There are no cars driving, and few pedestrians. Parked cars are present, as well as aircraft at Wesley Cutter Intl and Sierra Point. You may also perform photo ops. "Stilwater" is not visible from Steelport, but the helicopter marker is visible at all times. When flying back to "Stilwater" the buildings reappear suddenly, and are solid.
  • As Player Customization does not occur until after this mission, a distorted Male Voice 1 is used throughout the mission. The default taunt and compliment used is The Marine and The Experience, respectively, and also cannot be changed until Player Customization.
    • If the game is modded to skip equipping the Gat outfit, Playa's body is invisible, and changing to certain outfits – such as the outfit used during "Murderbrawl XXXI" – reveals that Playa's model is female, but still uses the male animations.
  • The newscast for this mission, as well as the next[5], do not play until the third mission, "We're Going to Need Guns".
When Good Heists Go Bad Saints Flow Pierce

In a scene that parodies The Creation of Adam, Pierce reaches towards a can of Saints Flow in a Japanese commercial.

  • Cultural references in this mission include the following:
  • The basketball court in the Japanese commercial cutscene is in Sunset Park.[6]
  • Shaundi in this mission is a special "npc_Shaundi_bobblehead" model with her ponytail and fringe removed so they do not clip through the mask. The other characters are their normal models with the "Gat Bobble Head" Customization Item added.


Cutscene #1Edit

Opening crawl: "Conquest."
Opening crawl: "The story of human history."
Opening crawl: "Since time immemorial, great leaders have risen from humble beginnings to..."
Opening crawl: "do shit."
Opening crawl: "And so it was with the THIRD STREET SAINTS."
Opening crawl: "Since conquering Stilwater, the once small-time street gang has evolved into a media empire."
Opening crawl: "A Saints movie is in development. JOHNNY GAT and SHAUNDI are pop-culture icons. And PIERCE..."
Opening crawl: "Well, who gives a fuck about Pierce?"
Opening crawl: "The points is, the Saints are on the world stage and every criminal organization wants their crown."
Opening crawl: "It was only a matter of time before one of them took the fight to the Saints."

A Saints Flow Commercial plays
Pierce: "Super excellent!"
The camera pulls back from a cellphone
Josh: "Japanese commercials. Easiest money you'll ever make."
Gat: "Grand larceny's right up there. You ready for this?"
Josh: "No worries--I do my own stunts."
Shaundi: "You're just a ride-a-long, man--"
Shaundi: "So don't get all Hong Kong-style in there."
Josh: "I am a Method actor. If I'm gonna play a Saint with any degree of emotional truth, I gotta make it real."
Playa: "Trust me, Birk. It'll be real."
Josh: "You're robbing a bank dressed like yourselves?"
Gat: "Hell yeah. Who doesn't wanna be Johnny Gat?"
Josh: "Ultra-post-modernism. I love it."
Shaundi: "I'm cool with the Saints movie, but do we really gotta drag this asshole actor around?"
Playa: "Cut Josh some slack, he's just researching his part."
Shaundi: "I hope he signed a waiver."
Playa: "Alright people--"
Gat: "Birk!"
Josh: "Sorry, jumped his line. Can we go again?"
Playa: "You all know the drill."
Man: "Can I get a picture with the boss?"
Shaundi: "Say "sleaze"!"
Josh: "Get in line, bitch!"
Shaundi: "Hey--don't be a dick."
Josh: "You call yourselves gang bangers? You're a bunch of pussies! We should be all up in their shit, like--"
Josh: "FUCK!!"
Playa: "Well, that's different."
Gat: "You got a plan, or we just shooting all these motherfuckers?"
Playa: "That is my plan."
Gat: "Works for me."
— Opening cutscene


Gat: "Where's the vault!"
Guard: "Go to hell."
Gat: "You wanna play, motherfucker?"
Josh: "OH MY GOD!"
Shaundi: "You couldn't wait to kill him until we found out who these guys are?"
Gat: "Eh."
Playa: "Alright people, let's find that vault."
Playa - Zombie: "Gargles"
— "Interrogate Guard"

Josh: "We're gonna die!"
Gat: "What happened to, "I do my own stunts"?"
Josh: "Hey, do these look like squibs to you?"
— "Mission Start"

That's right, you fuckers! We're comin' for you!
— Josh, "Josh Grandstanding"

Shaundi: "Oh Jesus..."
Playa: "Get up Birk, let's keep moving."
Playa - Zombie: "Mumbles"
— "Berating Josh"
Shaundi: "I can't believe you launched that guy into a statue!"
Gat: "I can't believe you're still thinking about it."
Shaundi: "Do you want to know who these people are?"
Playa: "Listen, all that matters is the vault. Let's find that and get the hell outta here."
Playa - Zombie: "Garbled"
— "Find Vault"
Josh: "Is this what it's normally like?"
Gat: "Normally the tellers don't use fucking shotguns."
Shaundi: "Yeah, normally banks don't look like a palace either. You see those statues before you blew 'em up?"
Gat: "Will you forget the horses, these guards are packing military grade hardware..."
Playa: "Who the hell are we robbing?"
Playa - Zombie: "Grunts"
— "Morningstar Convo"

Cutscene #2Edit

Josh: "I...I can't breathe."
Shaundi: "Ugh..."
Gat: "No way we're cracking this thing. Ready for Plan B?"
Playa: "Josh, get over here..."
Josh: "Got the tools right here, homes."
Josh: "So what's Plan B, we drill it?"
Gat: "Fuck no. We blow it."
Josh: "WHAT?!"
Josh: "Not cool man!"
Playa: "Time to get to work."
— Cutscene 2


Playa: "We'll need to set these above the vault."
Playa - Zombie: "Babbles"
— "Head Above Vault"

Josh: "Hey... I think we've got company..."
Shaundi: "Looks like they're comin' in from the lobby."
— "More Guys Coming"

Josh: "Shaundi..."
Shaundi: "What."
Josh: "We need to talk."
Shaundi: "We really don't."
Josh: "It's just... if I die here, I don't want things to go unsaid."
Shaundi: "I should be so lucky..."
— "Josh Banter"

Fan: "Oh my God, you're the Saints! You HAVE to sign this for me!"
Playa: "Anything for a fan."
Playa - Zombie: "Gargles"
Josh: "Hey, Josh Birk. Don't be starstruck, I'm very approachable. Want me to sign your breasts?"
Fan: "Uh, no, that's alright."
Josh: "Yeah, well, you know, buy Nyte Blayde on DVD."
— "Celebrity Autographs"

Cutscene #3Edit

Shaundi: "Let's get the chopper and lift this baby outta here."
Josh: "Hey guys, you can call off the helicopter, I found the way to open the vault!"
Shaundi: "Josh...are you trying to get us all jail time?"
Josh: "What? I don't wanna be some dude's bitch!"
Shaundi: "Do I have to go after him?"
Gat: "Forget about it, he'll be fine."
— "cutscene Zscene02"


Shaundi: "How long until the chopper gets here?"
Playa: "I dunno, probably like two waves of SWAT guys?"
Playa - Zombie: "Mumbles"
Shaundi: "Sounds about right."
— "Swat Almost There"
Here they come!
— Gat

— Shaundi, "Flashbang"

Shaundi: "I'm gonna kill Birk if I see him again..."
Playa: "I thought you two really had something there."
Playa - Zombie: "Roars"
Shaundi: "Oh don't even go there."
Playa: "Hey, I'm just sayin'..."
Playa - Zombie: "Snarls"
— "Annoyed At Birk SWAT Fight"
The chopper should be here soon, we just gotta hold out a little longer.
— Gat, "Wait for"

They've busted out the riot shields.
— Shaundi, "Calling Out Riot"

Shaundi: "Really, a fucking attack chopper?"
Playa: "Seriously, who are these guys?"
Playa - Zombie: "Garbled"
Gat: "A bunch of assholes."
— "Attack Chopper"
Shoot the helicopter! Use whatever you've got!
— Shaundi, "M01"

Here's our ride.
— Shaundi, "Chopper"

Cutscene #4Edit

Go! Go! Go!
— Playa, Cutscene 4


Playa: "You two go out the back."
Playa - Zombie: "Grumbles"
Shaundi: "And you?"
Playa: "I'm staying with the vault."
Playa - Zombie: "Moans"
Shaundi: "We'll see you when we touch down."
Playa: "Alright, let's go!"
Playa - Zombie: "Snarls"
— "Helicopter Hooked On"
Playa: "Hold her steady!"
Playa - Zombie: "Roars"
Pilot: "Where'd all this security come from?"
Playa: "Stay calm and stick to the plan."
Playa - Zombie: "Growls"
— "Helicopter Rising"
Playa: "Thought I shot that thing down."
Playa - Zombie: "Sneers"
— "Same Attack Chopper"

SWAT: "Troy can't bail you out of this one!"
SWAT: "This publicity stunt is over. We have to take you in."
— "Bullhorn Attack Heli Hover"

— Pilot, "Helicopter Jerks Back"

SWAT: "Make this easy on the squad for once."
SWAT: "Step away from the vault!"
— "Bullhorn Heli Drop"

SWAT: "Please autograph and then put down your gun!"
SWAT: "Turn yourself in, my son wants to meet Shaundi!"
— "Bullhorn Sniper Heli"

Playa: "Why the hell are we still here?"
Playa - Zombie: "Gargles"
Pilot: "The controls aren't responding!"
Playa: "Then get it fixed. I'll hold off the cops."
Playa - Zombie: "Babbles"
Pilot: "You can't kill them all."
Playa - Female 1: "I never seem to..."
Playa - Female 2: "I never seem to..."
Playa - Female 3: "I never seem to..."
Playa - Male 1: "I don't appreciate that kind of negativity..."
Playa - Male 2: "I never seem to..."
Playa - Male 3: "I never seem to..."
Playa - Zombie: "Roars"
— "Helicopter Not Leaving"
Playa: "Get us higher!"
Playa - Zombie: "Mumbles"
Pilot: "I'm trying not to get shot here!"
— "Helicopter Drag Vault"
Playa - Female 1: "How much armor's on that chopper?"
Playa - Female 2: "How much armor's on that chopper?"
Playa - Female 3: "How much armor's on that chopper?"
Playa - Male 1: "How much armor's on that damn thing?"
Playa - Male 2: "How much armor's on that chopper?"
Playa - Male 3: "How much armor's on that chopper?"
Playa - Zombie: "Growls"
— "Attack Chopper"
Pilot: "Jesus!"
Playa: "Dammit, watch where you're flying!"
Playa - Zombie: "Growls"
— "Helicopter Near Collision"
Put... the vault... down!
— SWAT, "Bullhorn Heli Drop After"

Pilot: "Hold on down there."
Playa: "No shit, you think?"
Playa - Zombie: "Moans"
— "Helicopter Vault Tipped"
I'm losing it!
— Pilot, "Helicopter Going Down"

You've gone too far this time!
— SWAT, "Bullhorn Cables"

Playa: "That's right, don't fuck with... oh no, no, no!"
Playa - Zombie: "Babbles"
— "Shot Down Attack"

Cutscene #5Edit

— Playa, Cutscene 5


Where do you expect to hide that vault?
— SWAT, "Bullhorn Attack Heli Strafe"

Playa: "Cover me!"
Playa - Zombie: "Gargles"
— "Set Explosives"
Watch it! Opposite side!
— Shaundi, "Warning Other"


  • Tornado in When Good Heists Go Bad promo
  • The Star Wars-esque opening crawl in the beginning of the mission briefly describes the 3rd Street Saints' recent surge to fame
  • In a scene that parodies The Creation of Adam, Pierce reaches towards a can of Saints Flow in a Japanese commercial
  • In the same commercial, Pierce uses a Hadoken
  • Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and Josh Birk prepare for the heist of Stilwater 1st National Bank
  • Johnny Gat, Shaundi, and Josh Birk prepare for the heist of Stilwater 1st National Bank
  • Playa meets the three outside the elevator
  • After meeting resistance, the group fight back. Johnny Gat uses a security guard as a Human Shield
  • A Stork arrives to airlift the vault away
  • As the Stork crashes, Playa dives towards the windows and back inside the bank
  • Playa is surrounded by SWAT, leading into "I'm Free - Free Falling"
  • When Good Heists Go Bad - helicopter exploding
  • Playa wearing a modded "Murderbrawl XXXI" outfit, revealing the female model used for the mission
  • The Saints Flow ad starring Pierce from the start of the mission
  • The final image used at the end of the mission
  • UI image used when saving after this mission
  • Concept art of the Saints wearing the Gat Head during the mission

Star saints

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  1. Note: The Tornado must be shot in order to end the mission, but does not count as a kill or vehicle destroyed in the Statistics
  2. Image:
    When Good Heist Go Bad - mission cancelled, cannot exit

    When Good Heist Go Bad - mission cancelled, cannot exit

  3. Image:
    Killbane - Saints Row The Third promo

    Killbane promo image

  4. YouTube: How to escape Stilwater in Saints Row: The Third u7jkJRZQHXk
  5. Mission: I'm Free - Free Falling
  6. Image:
    Saints Flow commercial filming location

    Saints Flow commercial filming location in Sunset Park

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