There’s nothing like father and son bonding time.
And this was nothing like father and son bonding time.
Last month Joseph Tilton, 39, of Lewiston, ME asked his dad to drive him to the bank to cash a check.
The dad, Keith Tilton, agreed, and drove Joseph to the Androscoggin Bank in Lewiston.
Joseph was inside the bank just a few minutes, then got back in the car and asked Joseph to drop him off in another part of town.
Dad agreed, and did so.
Dad’s homeward route took him back past the bank, where he noticed a number of police cars.
When Dad was about a block past the bank, the police pulled him over.
A bank teller had recognized the car and identified it to police.
It turns out that during those few minutes Joseph was inside the bank, he’d robbed it.
And then Dad, unknowingly, drove the getaway car.
Now, this is a story with a sad background. According to prosecutors, Joseph has a lengthy criminal record and had recently been released after serving time at a Maine prison. He’s described as a transient, has a drug problem and is suspected of dealing drugs.
Joseph is in jail facing felony charges of robbery, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and theft, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
To con your dad into driving the getaway car after you rob a bank?
Grand Haven is a nice town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The population is around 10,000.
The town has one zip code, and one highway runs through it – US 31.
It was on that highway, late last month, that a box with $30,000 in cash fell off the back bumper of a truck and brought people together with one shared goal:
To steal the cash.
Let’s pause for a moment because this scenario begs the questions:
Why was this still-unidentified man driving around with $30,000 in cash?
Why has he chosen to remain unidentified?
What had so befuddled his brain that he forget he left the box full of cash on the truck’s bumper?
Back to our scenario.
I’d like to think the people who suddenly appeared en masse to grab the $20s and $50s flying through the air were driven by desperation:
A single mom who’d just lost her job.
A recent college grad, drowning in debt.
A parent of a child with a terrible disease who couldn’t afford the child’s lifesaving medication.
Maybe. I think not.
Sometimes, when we humans have a chance to get something for nothing – even at someone else’s expense…
We get it.
As it rained cash, people abandoned their cars and caused a traffic jam on Highway 31. The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety was called, and they and some witnesses retrieved $2,470.
The truck’s driver eventually returned to the scene and told police what happened.
And it appears that a few people had grabbers’ remorse:
So far, one woman has returned $3,880 and two 17-year-olds handed in $630.
That leaves about $23,000 unaccounted for.