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Thursday, August 14, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Music minister charged with armed bank robbery

A South Georgia minister who robbed a bank Friday afternoon remains in jail. Fifty-one-year-old Jim Creason told the officers who arrested him that he was financially desperate.

The Sheriff's office says they have more property crimes occur when the economy is down, but a psychologists says that's not enough reason for someone to resort to crime.

Leesburg First Baptist Pastor Bobby Harrell describes his former associate pastor, Jim Creason, as a good Christian man, with a big heart. He says something must have snapped to cause Creason to use a gun to rob the Heritage Bank Friday.

"He obviously was in his particular case he was very desperate, his world had pretty well crumbled he was in a desperate situation," said Lee County Chief Deputy Dennis Parker.

It's these desperate financial situations that are driving property crimes, like metal thefts and car break-ins up.

"Property crimes always historically have gone up during economic downturns when people have lost their jobs, there's not a lot of work available," Parker said.

Psychologists say lots of people have fallen on tough times, but don't resort to criminal behavior, there has to be something more to cause the criminal behavior that can start at childhood.

"Some people will go to that point because they target people that they know when they're in the midst of some financial or personal hardship," says Insight Forensic Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Kaiser.

Creason knew many of the people at Heritage Bank, his wife being a former bank employee, and he called them by name during the robbery. He wore no mask.

"Maybe there are some feelings that it's less likely to be caught, feelings that they're less likely to be turned in, feelings that they're more likely to get trust from the people they're going after," Kaiser said.

At his former church, First Baptist of Leesburg, they said they would have been willing to help Creason had he only asked for it.

Jim Creason is Music Minister at a church in Edison. He's been charged with two counts of armed robbery.