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Only In Costa Rica: Hold Up A Bank, Get Caught, Get Sentenced And  Be Home By Bedtime

It was around 11am when a man with what later was discovered to be a toy gun attempted a robbery at the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) central bank in downtown San José. And due to the fainting of the bank teller and quick action by police the man was in custody and accepting the charges, he was sentenced and back at home in time for bed.

"I want ˘30 million colones and all you have in dollars, this is not joke, read it well", said the note handed to teller 19 at BCR central bank branch, by a man identified by his last name Winiker, Monday morning.

"If you do something wrong, like calling the guard or police or push any emergency button, I will have to kill you, the guard and my two partners will kill your family. When we have the money and am safe, I will call my partners and your family will be safe. You have five minutes", the man threatened the teller with a gun - later found to be a toy - under his jacket.

The bank teller, unbeknownst to the robber - activated the bank's secret alarm and began to make his way to the bank's vault.

It was then that he fainted and the robber fled.

Quick action and co-ordination by the Policia Municipal (Municipal Police) and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) led to the man's capture.

By 8pm, Winiker was before judge David Hernández of the Tribunal Penal de Flagrancia, in Goicoechea, where he accepted all charges against him filed by the Ministerio Publico.

The judge sentenced Winiker to three years prison for aggravated robbery.

However, the sentenced was commuted to five years probation, allowing Winiker to be free and be home by time for bed.

"I thought I was going to prison. The judge saw that I was not a confrontational person. My record was clean. When they told me was free, my wife and my daughter came to my mind," Winiker said by telephone to a La Nacion reporter.

Winiker is a driver for an language institute and a first time offender.

"It was crazy, I learned my lesson. At the time I did not think of the consequences. I am grateful to the judge that gave me the opportunity (to go free). For anyone who is thinking of commitment such a nonsense, I say think it twice", he added.

Winiker told the Court that he suffers from "suicidal depression" for which he is takes medication.


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