Arthritis Sufferer Robs Bank for Free Health Care

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An unemployed former truck driver, Mr. James Verone, walked into a branch of RBC bank in North Carolina and handed the teller a note demanding one dollar “and medical attention”.  Verone, 59, who also has an undiagnosed growth on his chest, could not afford health insurance after being laid off following 17 years in his job with Coca-Cola.

Verone had written to his local newspaper explaining that he was seeking access to one of the few places in the state with free health care. “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me,” he wrote. “I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.” He was arrested and charged with “larceny from a person”, because the $1 (62p) haul was not large enough to qualify as a bank robbery. He has spent the past week in jail, and has received medical care.

“The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” he told the Gaston Gazette in an interview in prison. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything. “I didn’t have any fears,” said Mr Verone, who did not use a weapon in the incident. “I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police.” Mr Verone disclosed that prior to his robbery he sold and donated all of his furniture, allowed the lease on his home to expire and moved into a motel.

The 59-year-old has said he will defend himself in court and threaten “the crime will happen again” if he does not receive a long enough prison sentence.

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