HARD TIMES

The Man Who Robbed a Bank to Get Away From His Wife

Lawrence Ripple fled a fight at home, stuck up a teller, then sat on the floor and told a guard his story of woe.

Photo Illustration by the Daily Beast

He preferred handcuffs over his old ball and chain.

Before taking up bank robbery, Lawrence Ripple was a lowkey retiree who stayed at home in Kansas City with his wife of 20 years, Remedios Ripple, known as “Dori.” Despite his frail state after surgery a year ago following a heart attack, he argued with his wife every day, relatives say.

“He wanted to get arrested and to get away. He just had enough and he needed some place to rest his head,” the close relative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Beast. “It’s crazy but he had no place else to go.”

Serenity would be a jail cell.

“She was just on him all the time,” the relative said. “I think it got to him this time. Some men might have slapped her around or beat her around, but Larry’s not that kind of a person… So he went down there to the bank and did what he did just to get away from her.”

Repeated attempts by The Daily Beast to reach the Ripples were unsuccessful.

On Sept. 2, 2016, Dori Ripple started hounding Ripple again; this time the dryer needed fixing, two relatives confirmed.

“She told him to fix the dryer and I don’t know how this happened,” another relative who spoke with Dori said. “It was just a petty quarrel that they have had basically.”

It appeared Ripple didn’t make it a priority to fix the machine right away and that caused the spat.

“There was fighting about the dryer that day and it was a simple thing. It didn’t work right.”

Without any fight left in him the 70-year-old man jotted down a note in front of his furious wife. He then fled the house, telling her he’d rather be locked-up than live there another day.

At around 2:30 p.m. the same day, Ripple walked through the doors of the Bank of Labor, a block away from the Kansas City Police Department’s headquarters, and hand-delivered the threatening missive he’d penned in front of his wife, according to a federal criminal complaint.

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“I have a gun give me all your cash,” it read, the feds say.

The teller supplied the bearded bandit, who wasn’t armed, with $2,924.

Rather than flee with the loot, Ripple simply “sat down in the bank lobby” according to the complaint, and “interacted with the bank security guard.”

Like a patient pouring his heart to a makeshift shrink, Ripple told the guard that “he was the guy she was looking for” ripping-off the bank, before handing over the illicit funds.

Once under arrest Ripple spilled the marital beans to FBI agents and local cops. He explained how he’d become fed up for taking incoming fire from his wife again and again “and [he] no longer wanted to be in the situation,” according to the complaint.

On Jan. 23, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office records, Ripple pleaded guilty in a Kansas City federal courtroom.

Despite the initial disdain for his spouse that broke him, Dori Ripple showed solidarity for her future convict husband by sitting in the courtroom.

“I can see that she regrets it in her own way,” the other relative said. “I don’t talk about it with her because I know she is already upset about it.

“I know she wishes she could have handled things differently.”

According to the federal indictment when Ripple returns to face a judge next after being granted bail, prosecutors could demand he get sentenced to as many as 20 years hard time for the hissy-fit bank heist.

The relative explained how Ripple has since received counseling before he was permitted to return to the household. The relative added that the man was hindered with the health issues related to his heart attack.

“She constantly badgered him,” the relative added. “She wanted him to do the dishes, and do things around the house.”

The relative says Ripple “wasn’t the same person” after his health took a dive.

What’s more, the relative says, the couple were hurting financially.

Dori, according to the relative, had a penchant to gamble and the couple allegedly got behind in both house and car payments in the past forcing her to allegedly dip into her retirement funds.

“She is upset and I while she doesn’t discuss it I know she wishes she did things differently,”

Though relatives blamed Dori, they didn’t leave Lawrence off the hook either.

“He’s always in a pissy mood,” the relative stated matter-of-factly. “He’s a bitter person but you could tell underneath he was a great guy.”

After his health setback Ripple became a bit of a recluse.

“She brought him over the edge that day and he couldn’t take it anymore,” the relative said. “Dori’s not a bad person but she badgered him to death.”

And the “meltdown” at the bank the relative suggests didn’t actually “hurt anybody”.

“He even turned himself in after he robbed the bank because in his mind it was the only way to fix the problem.”

The other relative maintained that Ripple “didn’t go robbing with bad intentions.”

Ripple instead should get treatment and counseling rather than rot in prison.

“I don’t feel like the man should go to jail because I feel like he was temporarily insane at the time,” the relative said. “Did he scare the hell out of somebody? Yes.

“But you help a guy like that. Don’t put him in jail.”

The other relative added, “[Larry] needs help not 20 years for a stupid decision he made.”

If Ripple gets the full lot of prison time he likely would perish behind bars.

“He probably won’t last very long with a heart attack,” the relative said. “The things that go on in your mind it creates fear and you lose hope to live.”