A Gastonia, N.C. bank teller was no doubt surprised when handed a note saying a bank robbery had begun. The teller was probably more surprised with the amount the unarmed robber was seeking: exactly $1.
But the story of James Varone and the little larceny gets even screwier from there. Or maybe there’s a certain logic to it.
Varone, 59, is unemployed and is facing several health problems which he could not afford to address by himself. So, according to his interview with WCNC-TV, he came up with a scheme to become a part of the only population that actually receives free universal health care: the incarcerated.
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When he approached the teller at RBC Bank, he slipped her the robbery note, warned her that he was demanding the heavy sum of legal tender, and waited to be taken away for his miniature malfeasance. “I started to walk away from the teller, then I went back and said, ‘I’ll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police,” Verone said. “Oh yeah. I went in knowing I was going to jail.”
He’s hoping to be sentenced to three years in prison, while he receives top-of-the-line health care typically given to people in jail, worth about $27,000 a year in North Carolina. After that he’d like to collect Social Security, then hit the beach. However, he might not be so lucky.
Police charged him with robbery from a person, and not bank robbery, so his sentence will likely carry less time than he had hoped. Verone, however is hopeful for his post-prison prospects. “I’ve already looked at a condominium. I’ve spoken to a realtor on Myrtle Beach.”
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