Aaron Stein was a desperate man when he robbed a Pennsylvania bank in June 2015, his lawyer said.
He needed money for his upcoming wedding, child support payments and home repairs, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
So he secretly invested his family’s savings into risky foreign currencies – and lost nearly $10,000. His fiance didn’t know he’d lost all their money or what he planned to do about it.
The Pittsburgh man, 36, made a fake bomb out of a vibrator, put on an Iron Man mask and robbed a PNC Bank in Crafton, Penn.
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He got caught. And on Tuesday a judge sentenced Stein to 1 1/2 to 3 years in state prison.
Stein’s lawyer begged the judge to be lenient and place Stein on house arrest.
“It can’t be that simple,” Allegheny County Judge Anthony Mariani said at the sentencing, according to WTAE in Pittsburgh.
The robbery last summer caused quite a scare inside and outside the bank, according to reports from the city’s CBS affiliate KDKA.
Wearing the Iron Man mask, Stein told bank tellers he had a bomb, showing wires hanging from underneath his shirt.
A teller described the device as having a green light on top that appeared to be a trigger button.
Police who pulled Stein over later saw money in his car. He told officers he had just robbed a bank but claimed that the “bomb,” found under the front passenger seat, was actually just a vibrator and cell phone cable wrapped in duct tape.
He told police he “made a big mistake.”
Police closed off roads in the area as a precaution, called in the bomb squad and used robots to remove items from the car. They also blew up a briefcase in the trunk but found no explosives.
KDKA reported that later that month Stein waved his preliminary hearing to receive a mental health evaluation. He eventually pleaded guilty to robbery, aggravated assault and making bomb threats.
Stein got married during an 18-day period he was out of jail on bond after his arrest, according to the Tribune-Review.
His wife and business partner, Connie Capiotis, begged the judge to place Stein on house arrest.
“I had the option to walk away from Aaron because of his crime. Most people expected me to,” Capiotis said, according to the newspaper.
“In spite of everything I’ve lost, I’ve come to conclude that my family is worth fighting for and Aaron is worth standing by.”