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article imageGrandfather in Germany given light sentence for bank robbery

By Leigh Goessl     Sep 23, 2012 in Crime
Hiddenhausen - A grandfather in Germany was given a light sentence after he attempted to rob a bank in order to get money to help pay for the costs of medical treatment for his sick granddaughter.
The man entered a bank in Hiddenhausen, eastern Westphalia. He was wearing a hat, sunglasses and a fake moustache, carrying a loaded 9-mm pistol reported The Local.
The man was identified by German newspaper only as Hans-Herbert S. The judge sentenced him to probation instead of jail.
Reportedly, the man entered the bank and demanded €50,000 (US$64950) from the lone employee, who had trouble opening the safe. He then reduced his demand to €10,000 (US$12990), then subsequently the 60-year-old man ran off in fear of being arrested.
Two days later he turned himself in to the authorities and his case was heard before Judge Georg Zimmerman. After hearing the grandfather's story of a sick granddaughter, born with a heart defect with already having several surgeries, the judge was lenient. The defendant told him his family could not afford the medical treatment, and insurance did not cover all the necessary treatment.
The Local reported German news magazine Der Spiegel wrote in its report on the story that the man's personal finances were strapped after his furniture store was destroyed by fire, leaving him €150,000 (US$194,850) in debt. A translation of another German news website, the Berliner Kurier, also reported the man's business having been destroyed by fire.
Calling the crime "an act of desperation" and the defendant's motive as being "honorable", Judge Zimmerman gave the man a sentence of two years probation.
"Go home and look after your family," the judge said.
The Local reported reader comments in German media were very supportive of the 60-year-old grandfather, noting many of the complaints were aimed at the health insurance system.
Globally, Germany is one of the countries that invests a substantial amount of money in its healthcare system, but patients also have co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses.
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