Sticking Up for the Polite Robber

I know a thing or two about polite robbers -- I encountered three of them during a home invasion in 1993. Three masked, armed men busted into our New York multi-family house while my parents, younger sister and grandfather were seated at the table eating dinner. My aunt and uncle were upstairs in my grandparents' apartment caring for my grandmother who had just returned from a dialysis treatment due to kidney failure.

While two robbers ransaked our apartment, one kept his gun trained on us. He actually told us to relax and to continue eating, as if we could. He told us they were not here to hurt us and would be gone soon. He spoke to us calmly, never yelled or cursed at us. I informed him my grandmother was upstairs, very sick and would not survive such a traumatic experience. He radioed the others and advised them to leave her apartment unit alone, which they did, though they did rob my aunt and uncle's apartment.

After about 15 minutes, they left. We were unharmed and my grandmother was none the wiser. I always say if I had to be robbed, that was the best-case scenario. It was a scary experience but I never feared for our lives, which I'm grateful for, and I'll always be thankful they had enough heart to not frighten a sick, old lady. They were never caught and what was stolen was never recovered.

As someone who stared down a gun barrel during a robbery, a moral person and a deplorer of crime, my heart still goes out to this 65-year-old Seattle robber. Yes, he did something criminal, but is he a criminal or a man without options? I want to believe the latter. He was polite, unmasked, apologetic and vowed to pay back the money. He should receive a punishment for the crime, but I hope the justice system shows him some mercy.

Do you agree with me?

Posted by Sherleen Mahoney on Feb 08, 2011

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