US man robs bank to go 'home' to prison; sentenced to 3 yrs

Last Updated 18 April 2014, 15:56 IST

A 74-year-old man in the US has been sentenced to over three years in jail for robbing a bank so that he could go back ''home'' to prison as he felt more comfortable there.

Walter Unbehaun, a career criminal, after his sentencing requested US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman if he could serve his time at the Greenville penitentiary outside St Louis as it had nice medical services and better job opportunities to pass the time.

"They put me to work there," the balding, gray haired man was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune.

The judge said she would make the recommendation but added it was "rather sad" to have a defendant who knew the ins and outs of the federal prison system so well.

Unbehaun robbed a bank just outside Chicago last year and told police that he did so because he wanted to go back "home" to prison.

He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the crime.

Unbehaun's life of crime began in 1963, according to court records.

He spent many years of his life in jail for a series of convictions ranging from petty theft to armed robbery.

When Unbehaun was finally released in 2011, he lived for a time with his sister in South Carolina but ended up in a studio apartment in Chicago's Uptown neighbourhood, alone, broke and suffering from the early stages of dementia.

In February 2013, he walked with the aid of a cane into the Harris Bank branch in Niles, handed a teller a note written on a bank slip and announced a robbery, according to court records.

"This is a holdup. I have nothing to lose," the teller quoted Unbehaun as saying.
He then opened his jacket to show a silver gun tucked into his waistband. Moments later, he walked out with USD 4,178 in cash.

A few days later, police arrested Unbehan at a nearby motel and found a loaded handgun, a box of .32 caliber cartridges and most of the cash in the room.

According to court records, Unbehaun told police he had spent most of his adult life in prison and "wanted to go back as he felt more comfortable in prison than out."

(Published 18 April 2014, 15:56 IST)

Follow us on