A 73-year-old man from Tampa, Florida was arrested last week for robbing three different banks, all in an attempt he says, to pay his mortgage. While I would never excuse the crime, it is actually quite a heart-breaking tale.
This elderly man, James Bruce, who is still working, falls on hard times with his businesses. After realizing he’s probably going to lose his house if he doesn’t do something drastic, Bruce decides to take out some “repayable loans” as he called them to make his mortgage payments.
So he goes out unarmed and robs three banks, demanding just $600 from each one. According to statements taken by the police he intended to repay the money as soon as he could.
His wife knew nothing about the scheme.
His friends all describe him as “kind, courteous, and smart,” but one neighbor recognized his face on the news and turned him in. Bruce is now being held on bail of $22,500 and may even face federal charges.
I guess the current economy has produced both extremes in terms of homeownership – people in massive numbers willing to walk away from their mortgages, and those willing to take desperate measures to hold on to them. With the government’s mortgage modification program reaching just a few hundred thousand struggling homeowners, we might start seeing more of these types of stories.