James Richard Verone, a Gastonia, NC resident and former Coca-Cola truck driver has been charged with larceny from a person for robbing a local RBC Bank of $1. Verone committed the robbery to receive free healthcare while incarcerated because he has no benefits and can not take on the financial cost of his own care.
The charge is larceny from a person because Verone only took $1. The charge carries reduced jail time, but like bank robbery, the crime is still a felony. After passing the bank teller a note demanding $1 and healthcare, Verone sat quietly in the bank and waited for police to arrive. He was arrested and taken to the county jail, where his $100,000 bond has since been reduced to $2,000. He doesn’t intend to pay it, he is purposefully staying in jail.
Verone intends to represent himself in court, and he hopes that he will be convicted of the felony so that he can receive care for a number of physical afflictions including back pain, pain in his left foot, arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and a protrusion on his chest (the cause of which is unknown).
After 17 years making deliveries for Coca-Cola, Verone was let go three years ago. The now 59-year-old found subsequent jobs driving a truck for another company and then working as a convenience store clerk, but neither job lasted very long. Verone began living off his savings, which didn’t get him very far. He tried to file for disability and social security, but he didn’t qualify. He was able to get food stamps, but the extra money wasn’t enough to come close to making up for the cost of his needed medical care.
Verone considered homeless shelters or a handout from a charitable organization. But then he struck on another idea: become a criminal. A stint in jail comes with food, shelter, and medical attention. But what kind of crime would a man who has never been in trouble with the law in his life commit? Not wanting to harm others with his crime, Verone came to the conclusion that he should rob a bank for $1.
Since being arrested, Verone has seen several nurses and had an appointment with a doctor. He was hoping to receive back and foot surgery and a diagnosis and treatment for the protrusion on his chest. However, these procedures would come at public expense, because the jails are funded by taxpayer money.
If the sentence Verone receives for the lesser larceny from a person charge is not long enough to cover the number of procedures he needs, Verone has said he will consider becoming a repeat offender.
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