A District Court judge declined to sentence a bank robber on Wednesday, instead asking him to consider how he could succeed on probation.
Terry L. Bailes, 54, appeared in Gage County District Court to be sentenced for attempted robbery, which was reduced from a previous charge of robbery.
At the time of the robbery, Bailes indicated he was looking for a way to get sent to prison, which Judge Rick Schreiner is hoping to avoid.
“There may be some people who disagree with me,” Schreiner said. “You committed a bank robbery. I know that and people may say ‘That judge is soft, all bank robbers should go to prison.’ Those people haven’t read your presentence investigation and those people aren’t the ones tasked with this obligation.”
Schreiner said Bailes’ criminal history consists of a few theft convictions, the most recent of which was in 2005.
It was stated in Court that Bailes worked at Landoll Corporation for six years before developing a condition in his hand that Bailes said prevented him from doing simple tasks like putting on his shoes.
The condition led to Bailes losing his job and residence. With no family to turn to, he said being sent to prison might be the only way to get the care he needs.
“I felt as though my back was against the wall,” Bailes said. “I know it was a poor judgment. This way, I think I can get medical care.”
Bailes was quickly apprehended last October after robbing Great Western Bank at 10th and Court streets.
Without a weapon, Bailes entered the bank and demanded money before asking the teller to call police and saying that he wanted to go to prison.
He left the bank with $10, purchased cigarettes and waited for police around a block from the scene of the robbery, telling officers immediately that he was the suspect they were looking for.
He pleaded no contest in the case, and was to be sentenced Wednesday. Schreiner instead continued the case to April 4 and asked Bailes to reach out to a friend who may be able to provide support and consider how he could turn his life around on probation.
“You went out and committed a nonviolent offense with the intent of being put in prison because you are poor and homeless. You can’t support yourself,” Schreiner said. “I have a problem with that. I don’t believe prison is for the poor and homeless.”
Schreiner indicated that probation or prison are both possible sentences next month.