Original article no longer available
November 13, 2002
‘Santa’ who bungled bank robbery says anti-depressant drug made him do it.
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CP) — A man dressed as Santa who tried to rob a bank in Penticton, B.C., says an anti-depressant drug made him do it. Alain Chevrier, 32, earlier pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, unlawful confinement, wearing a disguise and wilful damage.
He was wearing a Santa Claus hat and beard and packing two guns when he walked into a Bank of Montreal branch in downtown Penticton on Dec. 27, 2000, and demanded money.
He then held six people captive in the bank for 61/2 hours before surrendering peacefully to police.
Chevrier told a sentencing hearing that he committed the offence after he experienced a marked change in character when he took extra doses of Paxil, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant.
The Crown and defence have completed their arguments on sentencing. The judge will hand impose the sentence Nov. 28.