A 59-year-old North Carolina man with several serious medical problems, including an undiagnosed growth, informed the teller at an RBC Bank in Gastonia that he was committing an unarmed robbery. His demands: 1 dollar and three years in prison.

James Richard Verone woke up June 9 with a sense of anticipation.  He took a shower.  Ironed his shirt.  Hailed a cab.  Then robbed a bank.  He wasn’t especially nervous. If anything, Verone said he was excited to finally execute his plan to gain access to free medical care.

“I prepared myself for this,” Verone said from behind a thick glass window in the Gaston County Jail Thursday morning.

Now he hopes to be booked as a felon and held in prison where he can be treated for several physical afflictions.When his career as a cola delivery man ended some three years ago, Verone was knocked out of his comfort zone.He lived off of savings and sought a part-time job. Then he noticed a protrusion on his chest.

Strapped for cash, Verone looked into filing for disability. He applied for early Social Security.  The only thing Verone qualified for was food stamps. The extra money helped, but he felt desperate. He needed to get medical attention, and he refused to be a burden on his sister and brothers.

“The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” he said. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything.”

He considered turning to a homeless shelter and seeking medical help through charitable organizations.As his bank account depleted and the day of execution got closer, Verone sold and donated his furniture. He paid his last month’s rent and gave his notice.Because he only demanded $1, he was charged with larceny from a person. Still a felony, the count doesn’t carry as much jail time as bank robbery.

Verone has been in jail for a week.  His $100,000 bond has been reduced to $2,000.  He doesn’t intend to pay it. His residence is now the Gaston County Jail.  “If I had not exercised all the alternatives I would be sitting here saying, ‘Man I feel bad about it,’” he said.  But Verone said he thinks he made the right choice for his situation.  “I picked jail.”

via Bank robber planned crime and punishment | bank, richard, hailed - Gaston Gazette.