Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Judge punishes man who robbed a bank to get away from his wife with home confinement

It would have been easier to just go make an appointment with a divorce lawyer, but instead, a 70-year-old man said he robbed a bank in Kansas City, Kansas, in order to get away from his wife.

His plan backfired, as a judge sentenced Lawrence John Ripple on Tuesday to six months of home confinement, in addition to three years of supervised probation. That's okay, though — Ripple's public defender told the judge that her client now has a good relationship with his wife, is remorseful, and regrets what he did. In 2015, Ripple had heart surgery, which made him depressed, he said. He started acting differently, and decided last September to walk into the Bank of Labor and slip a note to the teller saying he had a gun and wanted money. After being given more than $2,000, he sat down and waited for the police to come from their headquarters one block away.

Court records say his wife knew about his plan because he wrote the note in front of her and said jail would be better than living with her. Ripple, who has no previous brushes with the law, has since been diagnosed with depression by a doctor, and is now on the right medication and feels like his old self, his public defender said. Several people, including the bank's vice president and the teller he gave the note to, supported leniency for Ripple, who apologized for scaring everyone. Ripple and his wife are in counseling, and hopefully she doesn't feel like the one being punished, now that he's going to be home with her 24/7.