The weird workplace

Be afraid or it's not robbery; Not-so six feet under; Time to liberate the pasta; Hickery dickery dock; Fine feathered friends
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/01/2014

Be afraid or it’s not robbery

TORONTO — When is a bank robbery just a theft? Apparently, a teller’s actions can play a role in that determination, or so said a judge in a recent criminal trial who found the bank teller was too sympathetic, according to the National Post. Jorge Luis Oliveiros Ortega gave the teller a note saying, “This is a robbery, give me the money, my mother is sick.” He then took $600 from the teller and left. In her testimony, the teller said she felt no fear at all, for herself nor anyone else, and she handed over the money “because he asked for it and also because she felt sorry for him, given that he looked so young and his mother was sick,” according to the judge. But a bank robbery is only a robbery if the teller is scared — with violence or threats of violence — and in this case the teller felt something closer to sympathy or pity, said the judge. “When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery,” the judge wrote. “But in the unique circumstances of this case, it was just a theft.” The teller had a thick skin, said the judge. “While others might have reasonably been frightened, she did not experience any fear at all… There was no robbery.” Instead, Ortega committed the less-serious crime of theft under $5,000, to which he pleaded guilty.