Elderly Bank Robber Walter Unbehaun Strikes Again Because He Misses Prison

| by Allison Geller

A 73-year-old ex-con from Rock Hill, S.C., is getting locked up again after robbing a bank —which is exactly what he wanted.

Walter Unbehaun has a criminal record going back to 1963, including convictions of bank robbery, car theft, home invasion, unlawful restraint, armed robbery, theft, unauthorized use of a weapon and armed violence, NBC Chicago reported. With all that time behind bars, Unbehaun was unprepared for life as a free man at his advanced age.

Reports of the February hold-up of Harris Bank in Niles, Ill., sounded half-hearted. Unbehaun, who has a hip replacement and walks with a cane, told the the teller: “This is a hold up. I have nothing to lose. Give me the money in the drawer.”

He opened his jacket to show a handgun in the waistband of his pants.

“I only have six months to live and have nothing to lose,” he told the teller, according to the complaint. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

Unbehaun immediately threw down his cane and surrendered to police in a North Chicago motel room Sunday, Feb. 10, after leaving the bank with $3,476 the day before, the Chicago Tribune reported. He said he “felt more comfortable in prison than out.”

Some prosecutors say that locking Unbehaun up would be rewarding his criminal behavior, while others see him as a public danger due to his willingness to commit a crime in order to get back in prison.

“Did the system fail Mr. Unbehaun?” prosecutor Sharon Fairley wrote in the filing. “We may never know. But, what we do know is, clearly, Unbehaun lacks the desire to lead a law-abiding life outside of prison walls.”

Prosecutors are urging a sentence of six to eight years. Unbehaun will be sentenced next month.

Sources: NBC Chicago, Chicago Tribune