A homeless man from Nevada said that he robbed a bank in order to obtain housing in a prison.
Tommy Ray McAdoo, 78, said that he robbed the Nevada State Bank at 1 West Liberty Street in downtown in Reno with a steak knife on November 9, 2016 at around 11:30 am.
He had used the back of a betting sheet to scribble a note that demanded money, according to an FBI affidavit, and made off with $2,731 in a paper grocery sack.
The Daily Mail reports:
The bank teller said she was scared throughout the ordeal because ‘he was repeatedly tapping the knife on the teller counter in front of her.’ But she managed to slip four ‘bait bills’ with registered serial numbers and an electronic tracker into the bag of loot, a criminal complaint said.
About three hours later, FBI agents found a $100 bill wrapper in a restroom toilet inside the Club Cal Neva and spotted McAdoo eating lunch. They asked him what he did for a living.
‘I used to rob banks,’ he answered, according to the federal criminal complaint.
McAdoo produced a Washington state driver’s license when the agents asked for ID.
McAdoo initially told the FBI agents he didn’t know anything about the holdup. But he later said he had stashed the blue sweatshirt investigators found underneath a truck in the bank parking lot, and he eventually acknowledged his role in the robbery, the criminal complaint said.
What’s interesting is that McAdoo would not enter a plea, but rather turned to his attorney and gave the choice to him.
“Guilty or not guilty? It’s up to you,” he told the public defender, who entered a not guilty plea, which he later pleaded guilty to in April.
“Mr. McAdoo’s crime was committed by a gravely ill, homeless man who after staying out of the system for eight years impulsively decided he needed to do something to go back to prison,” federal public defenders Rene Valladares and Lauren Gorman wrote in court papers filed July 25, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“His health is declining rapidly and with it any risk to the public he could present,” the public defenders said, adding that McAdoo “understands that almost any sentence in this case is a death sentence.”
“A sentence of 51 months gives Mr. McAdoo nothing more than a sliver of hope he will die outside of prison gates,” they continued. “Such a sentence is just and appropriate in the unique circumstances of this case.”
According to CBS, McAdoo has been convicted of at least five different bank robberies since 1964.
The most recent, which occurred in Seattle in 1990, he pleaded guilty.
He was released from prison in 2008 and lived on the streets and in homeless shelters on a measly $880 Social Security check in Seattle.
Later, in 2012, he moved to Reno and attempted to make ends meet by gambling, which as you can imagine didn’t turn out so good for him as he mostly lost his money.
In 2014, he was diagnosed with coronary artery disease after being hospitalized with chest pains. While he was encouraged to have heart bypass surgery, he refused.
His health continues to deteriorate and it seems that he just wanted to get out of the cold in a place where there was shelter and food.
While I am sympathetic to McAdoo’s situation, it’s still a crime he committed and I ask, does this man not have any family members that love him enough to take him in? Is there no one that could have come alongside him and simply lent a helping hand?
Why is a man turning to an unjust prison system in order to simply survive?
I’d say it’s because we’ve lost our way in this country as to what compassion really is and what justice really is. Once we get back to that, perhaps we’ll begin to tear down the prison system and administer true justice and also show real compassion to those who need it.