Elderly, halfhearted Florida bank robber won’t be jailed

Seventy-three-year-old Sandy Hawkins wore a "Make America Great Again" shirt when he took $1,100 from a Wells Fargo on Monday, deputies said. (Source: Palm Beach County Jail)
By  | 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP/Gray News) -- A 74-year-old Florida man won’t go to jail for his halfhearted attempt at bank robbery caused by depression over his wife’s death.

Sandy Hawkins reached an agreement with Palm Beach County prosecutors on Friday. He will spend the next year at a Christian residence for the homeless and if he stays out of trouble the charges will be dropped.

An arrest report reviewed by The Palm Beach Post said Hawkins walked into the bank in November sporting a “Make America Great Again” shirt and asked the teller for $1,100. The teller, in turn, asked Hawkins for his debit card, not realizing Hawkins’ alleged intent to rob the place.

The teller told deputies Hawkins stuck his hand in his waistband, said he had a weapon and that this was a robbery. Investigators later learned there was no weapon involved.

Authorities said the teller handed Hawkins $2,000, but Hawkins rejected it because he only wanted the specified amount. The teller said he counted out 11 $100 bills and gave it to Hawkins, who then left.

The next day, investigators reviewed footage from the bank’s security cameras. They took images to the surrounding businesses, hoping that someone could identify the suspect.

They caught a bit of luck when they got to Turn 3, a sports bar in the same shopping strip as the bank. The bar’s manager identified the suspect as Sandy Hawkins, who had reportedly become a regular patron at the establishment.

The manager’s father directed law enforcement to Hawkins’ home, not far from the strip mall. Half an hour later, they were knocking on his door.

Deputies said Hawkins told them he’d “make this easy.” They said he pulled out a wrinkled-up deposit slip with a handwritten message on the back: “Give me $1,100 now. No alarms. Hope to get caught.”

The Associated Press says Hawkins lost the moneybag after leaving the bank.

Copyright Associated Press 2020. All rights reserved.