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Alabama man robs bank to avoid homelessness, police say

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Rickie Lawrence Gardner "was adamant his whole deal was he'd have a place to live and a place to eat."

Police in one Alabama city didn't have to go far to find a man suspected of robbing a bank: He was sitting on a bench in the shade of the bank's awning.

The man feared losing his job because of a severe leg injury and wanted to avoid homelessness by going to jail, authorities said.

"He was adamant his whole deal was he'd have a place to live and a place to eat," Moulton Police Chief Lyndon McWhorter said Tuesday.

Police arrested 49-year-old Rickie Lawrence Gardner on charges of first-degree robbery and first-degree theft. He was in the county jail Tuesday and did not yet have an attorney.

The police chief said Gardner walked into Bank Independent on Monday morning and handed a teller a note saying, "I have a weapon. Give me your money."

He told the teller to put the money in a bag, McWhorter said. Then he walked out of the bank with more than $4,000. He got in his car, put the bag on the passenger seat, got out and locked the car.

He strolled over to the bench, sat down and waited on police, the chief said.

Gardner told officers that his leg had been badly injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident and he was afraid he was going to lose his job, McWhorter said. Gardner was parked in a handicapped zone, but it was legal, he had a sticker, The Times Daily reported.

The chief said Gardner mentioned the weapon in the note — even though he didn't have one — because he thought it would get him a longer sentence.

McWhorter said a relative of Gardner told police that the man may have been off medication he had been taking since the accident, which could have affected his mental state.

"When officers got there, he did not offer any kind of resistance. He was just waiting on them," McWhorter told The Times Daily. "This is the first bank robbery I've ever worked where the robber was waiting outside the bank for the police to turn himself in."

Click for more from The Times Daily

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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