Man robs bank so he can go to jail and get health care

By Kase Wickman
Monday, June 20, 2011 20:52 EDT
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Often, crimes are borne of desperation. However, most robberies aren’t motivated by a desperate need for health care.

James Richard Verone, of Georgia, attempted to steal one dollar from a bank so that he would be arrested, taken to jail and — most importantly — provided with health care, the Gaston Gazette reported.

Verone worked for Coca-Cola for 17 years, but lost that job three years ago. Now 59 years old, Verone can’t handle the physical demands of the part-time jobs, like working in a convenience store, that he has successfully been hired for. Hence, he has no health care.

“The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” he told the Gazette. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything.”

He had no criminal record prior to the planned robbery June 9, either. On that day, he walked into a bank, handed the teller a note demanding a dollar, then sat and waited calmly for the police to arrive and arrest him.

Verone has problems with his back, an aching left foot, arthritic hands, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an undiagnosed protrusion on his chest. He’s hoping to be examined and treated, and serve enough time that when he is released, he will be able to collect Social Security benefits. Verone is banking on a lengthy stay: Before he robbed the bank, he sold his furniture and moved out of his apartment.

Verone plans to represent himself in court during his hearing for his crime, larceny from a person (because the amount he demanded was so small, he was not charged with bank robbery). If he is released, or if his sentence is unsatisfactorily short, Verone said he would again turn to crime.

“I knew that a felony would not hurt me. I cannot work anymore,” he said. “That felony is going to hurt my reputation.”

Watch a video on the report from North Carolina’s WCNC (h/t New York Times)

(h/t: ThinkProgress)

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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