A man from Bournemouth has been jailed for 14 months after robbing a bank while holding a banana.
50-year-old Laurence James Vonderdell reportedly threatened a cashier at a Barclays branch, while brandishing a banana concealed within a plastic bag.
After shouting ‘This is a stick-up, give me the cash,’ Vonderdell was able to steal over £1,000 in £20 notes from the branch, under the pretence he was holding a weapon. The incident happened on March 25.
As reported by the Independent, Vonderdell proceeded to approach nearby police officers shortly after the robbery. He informed them he had committed an armed robbery and said he ‘wanted to be arrested’.
Officers told Vonderdell he had to go to the local police station to report the crime, which he did; walking over two miles with the stolen money to confess his crime. It was here that he was detained, following his confession.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard how Vonderdell had recently been evicted from his flat. He had made the decision to rob the bank to get arrested in order to ‘have a roof over his head’.
Vonderdell’s lawyer, Anne-Marie Garvie, said he had ‘no intention of hurting anyone’, and had only committed the crime in order to have somewhere to stay. It is also understood he had not intended to spend the stolen money.
Vonderdell was sentenced on Monday, June 17 by Judge Robert Pawsonat at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting to robbery and possessing an imitation firearm. He will now serve a 14 month prison term.
Detective Constable Andy Hale, of Bournemouth CID, has made the following statement:
Even though the defendant handed himself in shortly after this incident and the cash was recovered, this must still have been a very distressing incident for the cashier involved.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the only time this year a person has robbed a bank by pretending a piece of fruit was a weapon.
In May, a man from southern Israel robbed two banks using an avocado disguised as a grenade. As reported by The Times of Israel, the man had painted the avocado black and had threatened to throw it if he was not given money by the cashier.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.