- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a man to 37 months in prison for trying to rob a bank in Casper earlier this year.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal told Jack Taber, 61, that she hopes he gets some help for the addiction problems that have contributed to his lengthy criminal record.

Authorities said Taber walked into a Wells Fargo bank on March 26 and demanded a teller put money in a bag and give it to him. Police arrested Taber after looking at a bank surveillance video and recognizing Taber from a previous arrest.

Freudenthal recounted Taber’s criminal history, dating back to the 1980s, including several theft charges.

Defense lawyer Dan Blythe said some of Taber’s convictions were as minor as stealing potato chips while he had been drinking.

Federal prosecutor Eric Heimann told Freudenthal that he was willing to accept the argument that Taber only commits crimes when he drinks. “But he drinks all the time when he’s not incarcerated,” he said.

Taber told Freudenthal he wanted to apologize to the people of the state and to a bank worker he confronted. “My lawyer told me I really traumatized her,” he said.

Taber acknowledged he made the choice to start drinking again before his arrest. He said he’s had periods of sobriety in his life.

“It sounds cheap, your honor,” Taber said. “It even sounds cheap to me. But only I can make it work. I know how to do it, I just quit doing it.”

Freudenthal told Taber that he was guilty to a serious crime. “This isn’t a shoplifting offense for some food or alcohol or some minor thing,” she said.

“You’re only slightly older than I am,” Freudenthal told Taber. “You have only a limited time left to impress on your children and grandchildren that you’re somebody who has redeemed yourself and come to grips with your problems.”

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