Edward Pemberton, AKA The Bouquet Bandit who made tabloid headlines after a string of bank robberies armed with nothing but foliage, has turned down a plea deal that would have landed him in prison for no fewer than seven years prison in return for a guilty plea to two of his bank robberies. His Legal Aid Society lawyer says the sentence is too high, in part because her client is so classy. "My client is accused of handing a teller some flowers and politely asking for money," lawyer Justine Luongo tells the Post. "Since his arrest, he has been nothing less than a gentleman—and that's what the DA's have said." Doesn't common courtesy count for anything anymore?

Yesterday Pemberton's handwritten statement to police was released; in it he explains that he targeted banks because he was broke from boozing and gambling, and "it's where the money is." (We always thought it was in the Banana Stand.) He's pleading not guilty to two New York bank heists in July, as well as two others in previous years. According to a copy of the statement obtained by the Daily News, his string of botanical banditry began on July 8th when he stole a potted plant off a stoop and took it to rob a bank because he thought his dirty clothes would attract attention. He walked out with $1,900.

When another robbery with a bouquet landed his surveillance photo on the cover of the tabloids, Pemberton said in his statement, "Oh my God, I couldn't believe it." He sat for three hours before buying a paper, explaining, "I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Then I started watching everyone." On that day he walked home to Brooklyn from Grand Central Terminal because he was afraid someone in the subway might recognize him. He finally turned himself at his family's urging, but the worst part of all this is that flowers are now ruined for Pemberton. "They're the thing that did me in," he told the News. "They're bad memories now."