[Christopher] Avery, 22, of College Hill, and [Andrew] Butler, 20, of Milford, pleaded guilty Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to two charges of aggravated robbery and six charges of kidnapping.
Butler pleaded guilty to an additional charge of vandalism stemming from damage done to the Hamilton County Justice Center after his arrest.
“Why?” Judge Steve Martin asked the men, who had no criminal records. “You’re in college, I don’t understand.”
Both men cited tuition.
Butler said tuition went up so his scholarships and financial aid were not enough.
“I was stressed out,” he said. “I needed more money for college.”
Avery said an internship at Kroger fell through, leaving no money for summer classes.
“I was strapped for cash,” he said. “I thought I had nothing to lose.”
Armed and wearing black masks, the men first tried to rob Ohio Checkcashers on Reading Road in Mount Auburn on July 16.
They couldn’t penetrate the store’s security, even after firing four shots at the bullet-resistant glass, Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Goodyear said.
They ran off and tried again the next afternoon, this time at Valley Central Savings Bank on Benson Street in Reading, Goodyear said.
They escaped with more than $130,000, Goodyear said.
Andrew Butler (left) and Christopher Avery—two boys just trying to better themselves.