Parolee who robbed Wyoming bank to return to prison gets 6-years

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[October 13, 2016]    By Keith Coffman
 (Reuters) - A transgender parolee who said she robbed a Wyoming bank last summer so she would be sent back to prison was sentenced to six years in a federal women's lockup on Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Linda Thompson, also known as Brian Thompson, is pictured in this undated handout booking photo obtained by Reuters October 12, 2016. Laramie County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS

Linda Patricia Thompson, also known as Brian Thompson, faced a maximum of 20 years behind bars but was given a lower term under federal sentencing guidelines because she pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for the crime, said her attorney, David Weiss.

Thompson, 59, pleaded guilty in August to a single count of bank robbery, said John Powell, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Christopher Crofts.

According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest warrant affidavit filed in the case, Thompson entered the U.S Bank branch in Cheyenne on July 27 and handed the teller a note written on cardboard that read, "I have a gun. Give me all your money," the affidavit said.

The teller turned over $16,300 in currency to Thompson who took the money outside the bank, handed some of it to people on the street, threw more cash in the air, and then sat down on an overturned bucket and waited to be arrested, the FBI said.

A responding Cheyenne police officer told the FBI that Thompson admitted to the theft. "I just robbed the bank, I want to go back to prison," according to the affidavit. All of the stolen cash was recovered.

Thompson was released from an Oregon lockup in June and told a parole officer that she did not want to be freed, the FBI affidavit said.

She ultimately hopped a train in La Grande, Oregon and ended up in Cheyenne, the affidavit said, where she was assaulted and later denied a space at a local homeless shelter during her week there.

It was then Thompson decided to carry out the heist because she could not survive on the streets, she told investigators.

Thompson was featured in a 2006 documentary film about transgender inmates, “Cruel & Unusual.”

In a clip from that movie, Thompson said when she decided to live openly as a woman she could no longer find work, and stole scrap metal for a living.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Andrew Hay)

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