Report: MIT professor robbed banks for ‘art project’

New York, Providence bank robbery suspect MIT professor Joseph Gibbons_113821

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor is accused of robbing a pair of banks in Providence and New York City, but investigators say he wasn’t necessarily after the money.

New York police say Joseph Gibbons was arrested last week and charged with robbing a city bank on New Year’s Eve. Providence Police Major David Lapatin said “supposedly he had admitted to robbing a bank in Providence” to NYPD in the process.

Lapatin said the robbery in Providence occurred back in November at the Citizens Bank branch on Westminster Street.

“As soon as New York is done charging him, then we’ll proceed with charges right away here,” he added.

In the New York robbery, police said Gibbons passed a note to the bank teller demanding cash, and he got away with a little more than $1,000. The Providence robbery was conducted in the same fashion, though city police wouldn’t disclose how much cash was taken.

The New York Post reports that the suspect filmed the New York robbery as part of a so-called “art project” he was working on. In Gibbons’ bio on the MIT website, it states his “work in film and video is characterized by a time-honored approach” and “a laboratory for self-observation and experimentation.”

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