‘Polite Robber' Gets 5 Years
Gregory Hess pleads guilty to well-mannered gas station holdup
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2011 6:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Seattle man who politely robbed a gas station with a pellet gun earlier this year didn't get a reduced sentence. Gregory Paul Hess—who could be heard asking the station owner "Could you do me a favor? Could you empty that till for me, please?" on surveillance video—was sentenced to 60 months in state prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery, reports the New York Times. Hess, 65, apologized during the robbery and promised to return the cash if he ever got back on his feet.

Hess has a degree from culinary school but gave up hope of finding work because of the tough economy and his criminal record for five bank robberies, a law intern working with his public defender says. The gas station owner says he feels bad for Hess and wishes he had been taught better survival skills during his previous incarceration. Hess says the robbery was inspired by fear that he would be evicted from his apartment. “I know what I did was wrong, and I did it anyway,” he said. “I deserve what I got.”