New Jersey Man Threatens To Rob Bank To Get Drug Treatment in Jail

By Paul Gaita 08/18/16

Troy Crane told police that he carried out the fake robbery because he was addicted to drugs and wanted to go to jail to receive addiction treatment. 

New Jersey Man Threatens To Rob Bank To Get Drug Treatment in Jail

One man resorted to extreme measures in an attempt to access treatment for his addiction. Troy Crane, 56, told a bank employee in New Jersey that he was committing a robbery, and then waited for police to arrest him in order to receive addiction treatment in jail.

Crane entered the Valley National Bank in North Plainfield on August 12 and attempted to cash a personal check made out to him in the amount of $275. The teller refused his request, stating that the transaction could not be processed until the account holder verified the amount. Crane reportedly became upset and left the bank branch, only to return a short time later and inform another teller that he would “attempt to rob this place” if he did not receive money.

North Plainfield police responded at about 11:20 a.m. and found Crane waiting for them. The teller later informed officials that after receiving the money, Crane sat down in a chair for a period of time and then returned the money to the teller, whom he then asked, “How long will the cops take to get here?"

Crane was arrested without incident and according to an affidavit, informed police that he tried to cash the check—which was forged—because he needed money. When the teller refused his request, he decided to carry out the fake robbery in order to be arrested. Crane said that he was addicted to drugs and wanted to go to jail as a means of receiving treatment for his drug addiction.

Crane was charged with uttering a forged document and false public alarm, and was held in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail set by Superior Court Jude Robert Reed.

Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said that she wasn’t surprised by Crane’s actions. “About half of the adults that want drug treatment in this state can’t get it because of lack of capacity and lack of funding,” said Scotti. “There’s waiting lists at treatment facilities all across the state and so far the state government has not taken the action it needs to take to fix this problem. We have people sitting in jails waiting for slots to open in drug court.”

Though New Jersey governor Chris Christie expanded access to drug courts in 2015, critics say that more treatment centers are needed to fully meet the volume of addicts seeking treatment.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.