Gregory David Roberts (born Gregory John Peter Smith; June 1952) is an Australian author best known for his novel Shantaram. He is a former heroin addict and convicted bank robber who escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980 and fled to India, where he lived for ten years.
Roberts reportedly became addicted to heroin after his marriage ended, and he lost custody of his young daughter. In his efforts to finance his drug habit, Roberts became known as the "Building Society Bandit" and the "Gentleman Bandit", because he had chosen to rob only institutions with adequate insurance, he would wear a three-piece suit, and he always said "please" and "thank you" to the people he robbed.
Roberts believed at the time that in this way he was lessening the brutality of his acts, but later in his life he admitted that people only gave him money because he had made them afraid. He escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980...
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