The economy continues to spiral downward, and people are getting more and more desperate. Here’s a good case of that where a Philadelphia area woman dressed as a clown robbed a bank.

>>With her polka-dot clown suit, rainbow wig, red nose and candy-cane socks, Carolyn Williams looked quite a picture when she strode into a KNBT Bank last August.

But it was no laughing matter when she told tellers at the bank in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, that she had a bomb before making off with more than $7,000.

Williams apologised on Wednesday as she pleaded guilty to felony robbery in Northampton County court.

“I did it. I’m very sorry that I did it,” Williams said in court.

Her motive, however, still remains something of a mystery.

She said she was forced into the heist by a kidnapper who had her children.

Williams offered no explanation but said she hoped the judge would understand her actions when further details are released during an August sentencing hearing.

Defense attorney Dwight Danser emphasised in court that Williams was concerned for the safety of her two children at the time of the heist.

She was busted shortly after leaving the bank when police found her sitting in a car in a nearby parking lot, smoking a cigarette.

Williams told officers she had a bomb in the car, prompting them to evacuate the area and call in the bomb squad.

Cops realised the hoax after a robot found a silver can with rice bags rigged to look like a bomb, The New York Daily News reports.

Williams, however, was armed. Police recovered two loaded handguns from the car.

The 44-year-old married mother of two is facing up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said they want the maximum sentence imposed.

Mr. Danser and Mark Minotti said in court that Williams has been evaluated by a psychologist who may be called when she is sentenced on Aug. 12.

But they declined to comment further afterward.

Williams told Baratta that she was a registered nurse and is now on disability for back and spinal injuries.

She said she takes medications that include drugs for seizures, depression and sleep.

During the robbery, five employees of the bank and three customers were in the building.

Three of the workers attended Wednesday’s hearing, declining to speak afterward.<<

It’s getting bad out there!

Here’s a video showing the early part of one of my favorite films, The Dark Knight, in which the Joker and his henchmen wear clown masks to rob a bank:

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