18 Jun 2015

Filmmaker robs bank while filming the heist as art

An eccentric filmmaker who once taught at MIT and allegedly robbed a New York bank on New Year's Eve while filming the heist for the sake of art pleaded guilty this week to burglary in the third degree.

Joseph Gibbons was charged in January for allegedly taking $1,000 from a Capital One bank in Manhattan. Gibbons walked into a branch in Chinatown not with a gun, but with a camcorder.

Now, the 61-year-old faces up to three years behind bars for what his friend said was simply research for a film.
'It’s not a crime; it’s artwork… He’s an intellectual,' 27-year-old Kaylan Sherrard told the New York Post early this year.
However, Gibbons himself told the Post that he was at least a little motivated by his 'not having any money and not having a place to stay.'

While it doesn't much matter in the eyes of the law which is true, his friend and fellow filmmaker Vincent Grenier told the Boston Globe on Tuesday:
'You never can tell if the character he is playing is actually him or a work of fiction...For him, it’s been a fertile arena to play in the boundary between reality and fantasy.'
According to the Post, prosecutors had originally sought a sentence of one to three years, but Justice Laura Ward offered one year as part of a plea deal.

The Post reports that while waiting to be arraigned for the incident on New Year's Eve, Gibbons told another man who was locked up the inspiration for the robberies.

Credit: Daily Mail

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