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Failed robbery attempt by armed woman leads to arrest

A one-armed Pennsylvania woman allegedly attempted to rob a bank. The 51-year-old entered a Key Bank branch last Tuesday armed with a knife. She demanded money from the teller, but when the teller refused, she ran out of the bank and drove away.

A witness was able to obtain the woman's license plate number, which was used to track the woman to her home. Police found a knife in her purse, and she admitted to the robbery attempt, claiming that she did not know why she did it. The woman is now in custody at Allegheny County jail facing several charges including robbery.

In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he or she inflicts serious bodily injury on another, threatens another with bodily injury or puts them in fear of immediate bodily injury, commits or threatens to commit a first or second-degree felony, physically takes property from another by force or takes money from a financial institution without permission by making a demand, either orally or in writing.

Robbery in Pennsylvania is considered a first-degree felony if serious bodily harm was inflicted, if the accused committed or threatened to commit a first or second-degree felony or threatened someone with immediate serious bodily injury. This crime, often classified as armed robbery, is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

If bodily injury not rising to the level of serious bodily injury was inflicted or someone was put in fear of such injury by threats of violence, the accused may be charged with second-degree robbery, which carries a potential sentence of up to ten years in prison. Third-degree robbery includes circumstances in which property was removed from another person by force, however slight, and those convicted may face up to seven years in prison.

In this case, the woman did not accomplish the robbery because she was unable to steal the money from the bank. Therefore, she may assert the defense that because there was no theft, no robbery was committed. A future post will discuss several other defenses that defendants may assert when charged with robbery in Pennsylvania.

Source: The Washington Post, "Cops: One-armed woman fails in Pennsylvania bank robbery try," Oct. 4 2017

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