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Return to a Life of Crime: Tragedy or Derring Do?

Apr 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Features, Lead Article, News

We do not condone crime, of course, but when a couple of 70-year olds are charged with planning to rob a bank, one is filled with a certain admiration for their gung-ho spirit. Note that these are not Bernie Madoff-variety criminals, fleecing trusted friends and gullible charities out of billions of dollars through a boring white-collar Ponzi scheme. No, Joseph Scalise, 73, and Artbank_robberhur Rachel, 71, were planning to carry out the classic blue-collar crime: a bank heist.

Adding to the spice of the situation, these two men were not exactly new to a life of crime. According to a New York Times article, they were “convicted in Britain of robbing Graff Jewelers in central London in 1980. They went to prison in 1984 and were released in 1993.”

What was it that prompted them to relaunch their career of crime? The recession? Had they lost their jobs to the downturn? Perhaps they could not keep up with their mortgage payments? Maybe they wanted to raise funds for their grandchildren’s college tuition?

Or perhaps they were simply looking for a little excitement. The television programs aimed at their age group are deadly dull, after all, and there’s only so much you can take of the Golden Girls.

While details of their planned operation are murky, one can picture the elderly gentlemen (there was a third accomplice, at 69, practically a young whippersnapper) covering their faces, asking the bank’s employees and customers to lie down on the floor, collecting money from the safe in gunny bags, struggling to haul the loot across the floor, and finally making their getaway in a rusty 1981 AMC Spirit.

But alas, we will never find out.

ps. The New York Times article is available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/10/us/10brfs-DIAMONDTHIEV_BRF.html?scp=1&sq=bank%20crime%20chicago&st=cse

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  1. I am trying to use the facts to deduce the motivation of these perps. I think I have an answer, but there is just one thing that troubles me (he mumbles as he scratches his head and tugs on his rumpled suit).

    Similar to the motivation for many of our actions, I believe that these perps were motivated by an attempt to access the health care system. Here is my reasoning: (1) It is clear that these individuals did not have an employee sponsored plan since they left the scene in a 1981 AMC Sprint (people who drives those cars do not have jobs with health benefits), (2) It is also clear that they do not qualify for Medicaid, since they have enough resources to own a car (liberally defined), (3) They may not qualify for Medicare since their primary occupation was jewel thief and, consequently, they have not been enrolled in the system, (4) If they do qualify for Medicare, the out-of-pocket costs are too high for those with limited income, and (5) Health care is available in prison at no cost.

    So my dear Watson, they pulled the heist to get health care. I am puzzled as to why they made a getaway, since their aim was to go to prison. It is possibly a cover for their motivation.

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