Franklin Keefer, alleged bank robber, avoids conviction due to nice manners

      HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - A Hagerstown bank robbery suspect is finding that politeness counts.

      The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown newspaper reports that 29-year-old Franklin Keefer avoided prosecution for robbery Tuesday because he asked a teller to please hand him the money instead of threatening force.

      He left the Columbia Bank branch on June 28 with $3,500.

      Keefer was convicted of the lesser charge of theft in a plea deal. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison with four and a half years suspended.

      The judge ruled that Keefer couldn't be prosecuted for robbery. The defense cited an October Maryland Court of Appeals decision that a robbery charge can't be sustained if the defendant didn't threaten or sufficiently intimidate the victim.