June 13, 2019
Arizona Senior Allegedly Robbed Banks Because He Wanted To Go To Prison, Couldn't Live On Social Security

An Arizona man allegedly robbed a bank a few months after being released from prison following a decades-long sentence for bank robbery and then told authorities he did it because he wanted to go back to jail, per CTV News. He reportedly said that he couldn't afford to live on his small Social Security benefit.

Robert Francis Krebs, 81, had spent the majority of his adult life in prison, mostly for bank robbery. His rap sheet goes back to the 1960s, beginning with a charge of embezzlement from a Chicago bank, where he worked as a teller. Then there was a 1980 conviction from Arizona, a 1981 conviction from Florida, and other charges. On-balance, he had spent more time as an adult in prison than he had as a free man.

In 2017, Krebs was released, for what authorities had hoped would be the final time, considering he was now an elderly man. He managed to stay free for about six months.

In January 2018, police say, Krebs walked into a Tucson bank, disguised by a wig on his head, cotton balls in his mouth to alter the shape of his face, and varnish on his fingertips so he wouldn't leave fingerprints. He allegedly displayed a weapon believed to be a BB gun and demanded cash, walking out with an estimated $8,400.

a gun on a pile of money, conceptually representing a bank robbery
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The elderly man then attempted to walk across the street -- almost getting hit by a car in the process -- before making it to the hotel where he was staying. He was arrested a short time later; he's been jailed since his arrest over a year ago.

Krebs allegedly told authorities he "kind of wanted to get caught," saying that the small, $800-per-month Social Security benefit he was receiving wasn't enough to get by on.

Retired FBI bank robbery expert William Rehder, who is not involved in the case against Krebs, tells Fox News that it's not uncommon for aged criminals to resort to crimes in order to go back to prison, where they're guaranteed a bed, three hot meals, and medical care.

"They really can't make it on the outside. [Krebs] is right — Social Security is probably not enough to keep him going, and he has no prospects for income."
Meanwhile, Krebs' attorney says that his client is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease, and indeed, a neuropsychologist told the court that the Arizona man is mentally incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors, however, say that Krebs is overstating how sick he is in order to avoid prosecution.