Unarmed Bank Robber Gets Probation: Mother Of Two Toddlers ‘Was At Her Wits’ End’ Awaiting Welfare Check — (Rocky Mountain News)

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Rocky Mountain News (CO)

January 10, 1992Author: MARLYS DURAN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS STAFF WRITER []

Last April, a frantic Sharon Baird Ramsey calculated how much money she needed to take care of her two toddlers until her first welfare check arrived.

Then on April 18, she walked into Vectra Bank of Federal Heights, handed a teller a note that said she had a gun, and demanded that amount – $1,200 that she needed for her children.

The teller gave her about $1,300.

Within hours, FBI agents had retrieved the money from under a rug in Ramsey’s Adams County apartment, and she was under arrest.

“She told me it was probably the most stupid and most desperate act in her life that she had ever done,” defense attorney James Aber told Adams County District Judge Donald Marshall.

Marshall, saying Ramsey is not a threat to society, sentenced her Thursday to two years’ probation. He also ordered Ramsey, 38, to do 100 hours of community service and continue mental-health treatment.

Ramsey apparently had no gun when she staged the robbery, so no one was endangered, Marshall said. And, he said, the bank got its money back.

Aber said Ramsey, separated from her husband, had applied for financial assistance from the Adams County Social Services Department to help care for her children, a son with cystic fibrosis and a daughter.

But the approval process was taking too long, he said. “She was at her wits’ end.”

At the time, Ramsey also was taking Prozac, an antidepressant linked to erratic behavior, Aber said. Her new therapist is weaning her from the drug, he said.

Ramsey is getting welfare checks now and “making do,” Aber said. “She’s taking care of her children.”

Ramsey made no statement to Marshall before she was sentenced.

Defense lawyer James Aber confers with Sharon Baird Ramsey, 38, during sentencing in Adams County Court in Brighton. Ramsey received two years’ probation for robbing the Vectra Bank of Federal Heights in April. By Steve Groer / Rocky Mountain News.

Copyright (c) 1992 Rocky Mountain News
Record Number:  9201020666