Transgender woman robs bank, hands out cash, so she can return to jail

Linda+Thompson1

Oregon Dept. of Corrections

What sounds like a funny story about a wily trans woman bank robber is in truth the hard core reality for far too many transgender Americans who cannot survive on their own.

Police were called to respond to a bank robbery at a US Bank branch in Cheyenne, Wyo., last week, and to their surprise the one and only suspect in the crime was sitting on an overturned 5-gallon bucket outside the bank, waiting for them.

“I just robbed the bank, I want to go back to prison,” Linda Thompson told police Wednesday, reported KGWN-TV.

According to the authorities quoted by the Associated Press, Thompson had just minutes earlier shown a teller a cardboard note saying: “I have a gun. Give me all your money.” The teller handed over everything she had: $16,300, according to KGWN. At that point, Thompson reportedly took the loot, went into the parking lot and tossed the money into the air, handing out some to customers and passersby.

And instead of making a getaway, she sat down and awaited police. The reason, according to court records: Thompson said a homeless shelter had turned her away, and that she no longer felt safe to stay on the streets. She said she had suffered facial fractures after strangers beat her at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park the previous weekend.

Thompson had been serving time at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Ore., for a second-degree robbery conviction until her release this past June, according to Betty Bernt, the communications manager with the Oregon Department of Corrections. Bernt told KGWN the last anyone saw of her was when she boarded the train to Cheyenne. But when her time was served, Thompson advised the Oregon state parole office that she would not do well on parole, and she said that she didn’t want to be released, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Tory Smith.

There are an estimated 3,200 transgender inmates in the U.S. reported Mother Jones in May; in 2015, the Movement Advancement Project and Center for American Progress reported trans people are nearly four times more likely to have a yearly household income below $10,000, in other words, living in poverty.

CellFlickr

Facing those kinds of grim statistics, as well as transphobia, violence, societal rejection and scorn, as well as legalized discrimination, is it really surprising that a trans person would decide that the four walls of a cell with a cot, a bathroom and regular meals were a better alternative than “freedom?”

Authorities recovered every dollar of the money handed over by the teller, according to reports.

Bank robbery is a federal offense, punishable with up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted. Thompson faces a judge Tuesday, and her parole officer in Oregon did not respond to invitations to comment.

This Story Filed Under

Comments