A 71-year-old man who robbed a Kansas City bank last September to escape living with his wife has been sentenced to six months of home confinement. At the time he claimed that he would rather live in prison than go home with his wife.
According to court documents Lawrence John Ripple wrote out a demand note in front of his wife that said, “I have a gun, give me money.”
After the teller complied with his demand, he took the money and sat in the bank lobby, waiting for the police to arrive. When a bank security guard approached him, he simply said, “I’m the guy you’re looking for.”
During police questioning Ripple explained that he had been arguing with his wife and that he “no longer wanted to be in that situation.”
In an affidavit filed in support of the robbery charge an FBI agent wrote, “Ripple wrote out his demand note in front of his wife … and told her he’d rather be in jail than at home.”
Ripple and his lawyers now says that his actions last year were a results of a severe bout of depression that he fell into after a 2015 quadruple bypass heart surgery.
Prior to the bank robbery, Mr. Ripple had been a law-abiding citizen. He had no previous arrest record and had been a dedicated husband to his wife and father of his four step-children.
Ripple pleaded guilty in January to the bank robbery charge, which could have landed him up to 37 months in prison. Because of his medical condition and remorse, his attorney and federal prosecutors asked a U.S. District Court judge for leniency. The bank teller who he handed the note to and the president of the bank supported the request.
His attorney called the robbery a “cry for help” and noted that Mr. Ripple was now on medication and had been attending counseling with his wife. He was accompanied to court by his wife and several family members.
When asked how he was feeling now, Ripple said, “I feel great. I feel like my old self.”
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