No Prison Time for Heartbroken 74-Year-Old Bank Robber
By Gerry W. Beyer
On November 18th of last year, 74-year-old Sandy Hawkins walked into a Wells Fargo in Florida and demanded that the teller give him $1,100. When the teller counted out $2,000, Hawkins scolded him and said it was too much. He left with the $1,100, but while walking the bag became ensnared in a thorny bush and ripped open. Hawkins kept walking and left the loot behind. When police approached him the next day, he went willingly, even giving them the note he had forgotten to hand over to the teller, reading, “Give me $1,100. Now. No Alarms. Hope to get caught.” What caused this man that closely resembled Santa Claus with no prior criminal record to suddenly rob a bank? Simple – he was heartbroken, so bad that he no longer knew how to cry out for help. He married the love of his life, Linda, at the late age of 52, but said it was the best day of his life. But just a few months after their 22nd wedding anniversary in September of 2018, Linda had a pain in her side. Erring on the side of caution, she went to the emergency room on a Tuesday and was admitted for testing. The next day, Hawkins was told she had blood cancer and due to it attacking her major organs, she had maybe 72 hours to live. On Friday she died. Bank robbers face up to 15 years, which to 74-year-old Hawkins, who has prostate cancer that he refuses to treat, would be a life sentence. Instead, Assistant State Attorney Samuel Meshulam told the judge, Jeffrey Gillen, that he took all relevant factors into consideration when working out a deal with the public defender’s office. Hawkins agreed to reside and abide by all the rules in a transitional housing facility, the Lord’s Place, for 12 months. Gillen said it was with happiness that he was signing off on the deal. See Eileen Kelley, Bank Robber’s Cry for Help was Heard. The 74-Year-Old Widower Won’t go to Prison, Sun-Sentinel, February 14, 2020; see also Eileen Kelley, Heartbroken 74-Year-Old Widower Wanted Help. So he Robbed a Bank, Sun-Sentinel, December 20, 2019.