Most people don’t willingly send themselves to prison. But for James Verone from North Carolina, that was the only way to receive free medical attention.
When Verone lost his job at Coca-Cola after 17 years, he also lost his health insurance, which left him with no chance of getting treatment for his bad back, arthritis and a growth on his chest.
So he planned a bank robbery.
Verone walked into a bank in Gaston, North Carolina and handed the clerk a note that read “This is a bank robbery, please only give me one dollar”. He then strolled over to a corner of the bank, sat down and waited for the police.
Just before executing this oddly pacifistic crime, Verone had sent a letter to the Gaston Gazette: “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”
Since he only demanded $1, Verone couldn’t be charged with bank robbery: only with larceny from a person, which doesn’t entail as much jail time.
To Verone, his health was much more important than reputation or a short stint behind bars. “The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept”, he said. With a lack of real options, he decided to send himself to prison by causing as little disturbance as possible. It’s as close as one might get to a victimless crime.
US man in $1 bank heist for medical attention