Turns out the shuffling thief who held up a Center City bank on Monday isn't so elderly, after all.
Jerry Lee Stanton, who was arrested yesterday by FBI agents at the West Philadelphia personal-care home where he lives, is actually 59 years old - not in his 70s, as law enforcement officials suggested earlier this week.
According to his old pals, Stanton is a sad and lonesome guy who might have viewed robbing a bank as a way out of his doldrums.
"I know he was depressed," said James Smith, who lived with Stanton at the Walnut Manor, at 50th and Walnut streets.
Smith and a handful of other residents mulled over Stanton's arrest as they huddled on a porch outside the Manor, which is actually a pair of rowhouses that provide shelter and care for 24 men.
"I know he ain't coming back," Smith said. "It's very depressed in here, [emotionally] and financially. He didn't wanna listen to everyone.
"This wasn't for him."
FBI officials said that Stanton entered the Citizens Bank, at 20th and Market streets, shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Surveillance footage showed Stanton handing a dirty pillowcase to a bank teller and then demanding cash.
He fled on foot after the teller met his demand.
Investigators took note of Stanton's hunched shoulders, oversized large sunglasses and wrinkled face, and initially suggested that he was in his 60s or 70s.
The specter of a puttering, elderly bandit attracted widespread media attention.
Law enforcement sources said that the FBI received a flurry of tip calls yesterday morning, including one from a Daily News reader who recognized Stanton from a surveillance image that was featured on the front page of the paper.
The eagle-eyed reader told investigators where Stanton lived.
About 10:30 a.m., several agents arrived at the Walnut Manor.
Smith said that Stanton led the agents to his third-floor bedroom, and was then handcuffed and taken from the house.
FBI spokeswoman Vicki Humphreys said Stanton was charged locally, not federally, with robbery and related offenses.
"We don't charge every bank robber federally," she said. "In this particular case, I'm not sure what was the deciding factor to charge him locally."
Smith added that Stanton had indicated that he planned to move away from Walnut Manor but encountered a financial roadblock because his monthly Social Security check was not enough.
Donald James Leon Hill IV, 52, another Manor resident, said that he doesn't believe that Stanton perpetrated the robbery.
"It [the photo and video] didn't look like him," Hill said, adding that the only suspicious thing he'd ever seen Stanton do was come home one day wearing "big, dark, lady sunglasses."
"I can't believe Jerry would rob a bank," Hill continued. "He's the kindest guy in the world."
Hill described Stanton as a quiet, shy man who was unhappy with the rules of the manor.
"Independent living," he said. "That's what we all want. We don't wanna live in this dump." *