KANSAS CITY, Kansas — Sometimes, the punishment truly fits the crime.
A 71-year-old man who told authorities he robbed a bank because he preferred to spend the rest of his life behind bars rather than with his wife, has been sentenced to six months house arrest — in the home he shares with his wife.
Lawrence John Ripple had faced up to 20 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in January but his attorneys had asked the judge for leniency, saying Ripple had been suffering from severe depression at the time of the robbery and had sought treatment and has undergone couple’s counseling with his wife.
They also argued that he has health problems and is unlikely to re-offend.
Ripple had walked into the Bank of Labor across from police headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas last September with a note stating, “I have a gun, give me money.”
But after the teller handed him $2,924 from the drawer, he went and sat down on a chair in the bank lobby. When a bank security guard approached Ripple, he said he was the guy they were looking for and handed back the cash, according to court documents.
While being interviewed by investigators, Ripple said he had gotten into a fight with his wife at home “and he no longer wanted to be in that situation.” He said he wrote the demand note in front of his wife and told he he’d rather be in jail than continue living with her.
His lawyers said the episode amounted to a “cry for help.” In court, Ripple apologized for scaring the bank’s employees, the Kansas City Star reported.