Filmmaker Gets Year in Prison For "Performance Art" Bank Robbery
Joe Gibbons was sentenced on Monday after he pled guilty to stealing $1,000 from a Capital One branch in New York.
Filmmaker Joe Gibbons has landed behind bars after he stole more than $1,000 from a bank in what he reportedly claimed was an act of performance art coupled with needing the cash.
Gibbons, who previously taught at MIT, was sentenced to a year in prison on Monday after pleading guilty last month to stealing $1,002 from a Capital One branch in New York on New Year's Eve.
He was arrested on Jan. 8 at the Bowery Grand Hotel after the police received a confidential tip based on surveillance video and photos taken of the robbery, The New York Times reported. Officers found Gibbons and a pink and silver video camera matching the one the robber aimed at the teller after demanding money at the hotel, The Times adds.
According to the criminal complaint, Gibbons gave the teller a note that read "THIS IS A ROBBERY. LARGE BILLS. NO DYE PACKS / NO GPS" and pointed the video camera, which he removed from his pocket and placed on the counter, at the teller. The teller then gave him $1,002, and Gibbons placed the money in a bag and walked out of the bank.
Gibbons, 61, was initially charged with third-degree robbery, fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree possession of stolen property. He pled guilty to the top charge and prosecutors recommended a sentence of 1-3 years behind bars.
In his 2002 Confessions of a Sociopath short film, Gibbons, who directed and starred in the movie, says "I just take what I need" before adding, "I'm just kidding about that."
In addition to that movie, Gibbons' website says he has created more than 30 films and been recognized with fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and other arts organizations. His work has screened at the New York Film Festival, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Biennial, Rotterdam Film Festival and on PBS. He received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2001.
Some in the art world have raised money to support Gibbons. An IndieGogo campaign to "support Joe who is going through a really tough time” and help him “continue with his great contribution to the cinematic arts" raised $8,799. And Brooklyn film and electronic art venue The Light Industry staged a benefit for Gibbons in February.
He's also suspected of robbing a bank in Providence, Rhode Island in November but has not been charged in that case, his lawyer told The Times. Still, Gibbons told the New York Post in a jailhouse interview that he robbed both banks.
Watch part of Confessions of a Sociopath below.