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'Rather Be in Jail Than at Home' Bank Robber Gets House Arrest Instead

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 21, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and sometimes we just need a little break from a loved one to get some relief and some perspective. And other times we tell our wife we'd "rather be in jail than at home," walk into a bank, hand a teller a note that reads "I have a gun, give me money," and wait to be arrested.

That was 70-year-old Lawrence John Ripple's domestic situation when he robbed the Bank of Labor in Kansas City earlier this year. But the unhappy thief might not have received the punishment he wanted. Last week, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Ripple to six months of home confinement. Congratulations, Mrs. Ripple!

Ripple in Still Water

Ripple pleaded guilty to the robbery, which came to a dramatic end when Ripple took $2,924 from the teller, took a seat in the bank lobby, and told a bank security guard, "I'm the guy you're looking for." Ripple had no prior criminal history, and his attorney described the incident as a "cry for help," stemming from depression Ripple suffered after undergoing a quadruple bypass heart surgery. While he claims the depression remained undiagnosed and manifested as irritability prior to the heist, Ripple says he has since been properly diagnosed, is on the right medication, and feels like his normal self again.

If I Knew the Way I Would Take You Home

Prosecutors told the Kansas City Star that it was unusual for bank robbers to avoid any jail time, but the fact that Ripple returned the money immediately, never actually used a gun in the robbery, and showed genuine remorse all weighed against incarcerating the septuagenarian. Instead Ripple was ordered to repay $227.27 to the bank (the amount of billable hours for bank employees who were sent home on the day of robbery) and $100 to a crime victims fund, perform 50 hours of community service, and submit to three years of supervised probation.

Oh yeah, and along with six months of house arrest, Ripple has also been attending mandated counseling sessions with his wife.

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