->''"You don't understand! I have a daughter and she's sick! That makes it okay for me to break the law! ...I'm not a bad person..."''
-->-- '''Flint Marko''', ''Film/SpiderMan3: WebAnimation/HowItShouldHaveEnded''

This is a trope for when a person becomes a criminal because of socio-economic reasons, or just plain horrible circumstances, and is portrayed sympathetically because of this. Basically a person or a group of people are in dire straits and need money immediately and become bank robbers and drug dealers out of necessity. This trope usually occurs in crime dramas (specifically urban dramas). Also may be considered TruthInTelevision. And more often than not it's usually overlapped with PlethoraOfMistakes. Also can be a case where a hero has to choose to do what's right despite being illegal. Or something [[GrayAndGreyMorality morally dubious]] for a greater good. This trope almost always falls on the GrayAndGreyMorality side.

Some social analysts have also have been known to refer to this as "Survival Crimes".

This trope is to be expected in a CrapsackWorld. See also KarmicThief and CaperRationalization. Compare to: IDidWhatIHadToDo. See also SingleMomStripper, in which necessity leads to degrading (but not necessarily criminal) work, HealthcareMotivation, in which the criminal wants money to pay a treatment or operation for a friend or sibling, TrappedByGamblingDebts for when the criminal is attempting to pay off debts, and TheCommiesMadeMeDoIt for people ForcedIntoEvil by those holding their loved ones hostage.

May involve an AssholeVictim on the receiving end, particularly if the Justified Criminal is presented as sympathetic for committing assault or even murder in the defense of someone else. The most justified examples also steal for survival and non-violently.

Compare WellIntentionedExtremist and YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters for more politically-flavored sister-tropes.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': Homura [[spoiler:must steal guns, bombs, rocket launchers, and even a friggin' ''missile'' to arm herself in her endless struggle against Walpurgisnacht. First she robs the yakuza dry, then she hauls the armory of the JSDF]].
* The first anime of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has an example where Ed and Al meet a thief who claims to rob so she can support the local hospital. [[spoiler:The hospital still goes belly-up, revealing that the thief actually subverted this trope by keeping the riches for herself. She subsequently becomes a nun, so she can lie about supporting the local church, and then a teacher, so she can claim to help keep the school afloat.]]
* Zabuza of the Hidden Mist from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' could be considered this. A rogue ninja is usually considered the worst of the worst by the villages, selfish traitors that betrayed their oaths. Zabuza's goal was to be able to mount a rebellion to take down the Mizukage. Typical power hungry jerk, right? WRONG. When he was last a member of the Hidden Mist Village, the Village was still in its Bloody Mist phase, killing off useful bloodline families out of fear (or so it seemed at first), even if they had stopped forcing ninja students in the academy to kill one another in a survival of the fittest test that gave the Village its Bloody Mist moniker. Zabuza's own adopted son/partner Haku also had a powerful bloodline ability, and was a very skilled ninja prodigy to boot, proof positive that the bloodline purges were a senseless waste that needed to be stopped, period. In other settings and stories, Zabuza could have been a rebel AntiHero protagonist!!
* Light from ''Manga/DeathNote'' believes that his murders are justified since he meant to make the world a better place. This is combined with IDidWhatIHadToDo with Light trying to convince [[spoiler:Near and the SPK in the series finale that the world needs him to continue what he's been doing to no avail.]] He has fans in and out of universe who also agree with him.
* The Wolkenritter from ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' assaulted mages and committed what was essentially OrganTheft to save the life of their beloved mistress [[HeartwarmingOrphan Hayate]]. They also avoided permanently injuring anyone and were planning on turning themselves in once Hayate's life was out of danger. [[spoiler: It's just too bad their plan would have resulted in TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt had Nanoha and Fate not gotten involved.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Based on the most-popular version of his origin (the Alan Moore version), ComicBook/TheJoker qualified before he became the Joker. He was just an ordinary non-criminal who had to do one job to help support his pregnant wife...Then again, it's the Joker, [[MultipleChoicePast so who knows how true that story is.]]
* ''Fagin the Jew'', Creator/WillEisner's revision of ''Literature/OliverTwist'', portrays the eponymous character in this light.
* In the super-comic miniseries ''ComicBook/ThePro'', the eponymous character is a new superhero on the ersatz Justice League.... and a career prostitute with a kid. Spectacular levels of gag-a-maggot self justification abound. A typical example of the writer's thoughtful social commentary includes gems like:
-->'''Speedster hero:''' "We're the League! We battle world destroying supervillains and cosmic perils! We've saved the world a dozen times over!"\\
'''The Pro:''' "Too bad you couldn't save a world where I didn't have to (engage in oral sex) to feed my kid."

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', the only thing that the title character steals is food, and no one but the completely heartless would blindly condemn that. The merchants and guards don't see it that way.
-->'''Aladdin:''' Gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat. Otherwise we'd get along.
-->'''Merchant:''' Wrong!
* ''Disney/AladdinAndTheKingOfThieves'' reveals Aladdin's father Cassim to have originally been one of these. When Aladdin was a young boy, Cassim left him and his mother behind in Agrabah, joining the Forty Thieves and pursuing the mythical Hand of Midas to ensure that his family could live in comfort. When Cassim returned several years later he discovered that his wife had died and Aladdin was nowhere to be found, leaving him with only his Kingship over a group of outlaws.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Most Mob and Mafia movies fit this trope to the maximum extent
* ''Film/BatmanBegins'':
** Joe Chill, killer of Thomas and Martha Wayne, went from being a hitman in the comics to a desperate man trying to survive, though he still killed the Waynes unnecessarily. Realizing this, and being deprived of the chance to kill Chill himself drives Bruce Wayne to embark on his war on crime.
** Bruce becomes one himself while WalkingTheEarth
-->'''Bruce''': The first time I stole so that I wouldn't starve. I lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong.
* Flint "Sandman" Marko from ''Film/SpiderMan3'' was robbing banks just to help his sick daughter.
* The girls from the film ''Set It Off'' are committing the bank robberies for various reasons, but most come down to a combination of having enough money to get out of the projects and to get revenge on a banking system that has failed them.
* ''Film/GoneInSixtySeconds2000'' has Nicholas Cage stealing cars to help his younger brother, who got in trouble promising too much to a crime lord. Of course, the detective investigating the thefts learns of this and lets him go in the end. That Cage had just saved the cop's life and given him the information he needed to recover the cars may have also had something to do with it.
* In ''HowToBeatTheHighCostOfLiving'' the RagtagBandofMisfits plan and carry out a robbery because, thanks to the recession (this was set in the late 1970s) all of them are in financial straits for various reasons.
* The film ''Film/DeadPresidents'' follows a promising and popular inner-city high school graduate, Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate), who decides to forego college and enter the Vietnam War as a member of the Marine Corps. Anthony survives a graphic and arduous three-plus-year stint in the jungle, but upon his homecoming, he realizes that the "real world" can be just as trying as war. His low-paying job provides little support for his new family and he becomes desperate to make ends meet. He enlists the help of his wife's sister who is a radical black panther member, some old friends and war buddies and plans a daring armored car heist which, if successful, could serve to amend his past and brighten his future... And of course [[PlethoraOfMistakes EVERYTHING goes horribly wrong]].
* ''Straight Out of Brooklyn'' is a gritty story about Dennis, an African-American teen living in a housing project with his sister, mother and abusive, alcoholic father. Fed up with his family's seemingly hopeless future, he plans with his friends to rob a drug dealer. Of course the consequences is like a domino effect which leads to a very bitterly cruel [[spoiler: EverybodysDeadDave]] ending.
* V in ''Film/VForVendetta'' is a terrorist and murderer, but his target is a totalitarian fascist government that advocates ethnic cleansing and legitimized itself by maintaining order after [[spoiler:creating and unleashing a virus that has reached pandemic levels outside of Britain]].
* In the remake of Film/FunWithDickAndJane they try to use every other option available to legally survive before they start their crime spree.
* In the movie ''Film/CatchThatKid'', a bunch of kids robbed a high-security bank in order to pay for surgery for the father of one of the kids.
* Al Pacino's character in ''Film/DogDayAfternoon''. He needed the money to pay for his girlfriend's sex change operation.
* Denzel Washington in ''Film/JohnQ'' holds up a hospital to ensure that his dying son gets the operation he needs.
* Creator/SamuelLJackson in ''Film/TheNegotiator''. When he is falsely accused of his best friend's murder, Jackson holds a government office hostage in order to clear his name and learn the truth.
* In ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'', Frank Abagnale starts out his career of conning people and counterfeiting checks after running away from home and trying to support himself. He gets less sympathetic as his crimes and the amount of money he has stolen increase, but he remains likeable as a develish rogue who outsmarts his enemies with sheer brains and bravado, and also scores points for tiring of his life as a criminal.
* Creator/SergioLeone was apparently quite fond of this sort of character. Examples include Tuco in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' (who while not the most pleasant of people has a very emotional conversation with his brother where it is implied he grew up in poverty and had to become a bandit to survive), Cheyenne from ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'' (who actually helps the protagonists after being framed for a series of murders he didn't commit, even going as far as to allow himself to be turned in so that the reward money can be used to keep Jill [=McBain's=] farm), and Juan Miranda from Film/DuckYouSucker, who is really just a poor man who loves his family and is trying to take care of them [[spoiler: and is genuinely heartbroken when they're killed by the Mexican army]].
* ''Film/{{Armored}}'': Tyler is left to [[PromotionToParent raise his younger brother after the death of their parents]] and is about to lose the family house because of unpaid bills, which would force social services to place his brother with a foster family. This leaves him amenable to his godfather Mike's prodding that he partake in a multi-million dollar theft of their own armored money truck. He turns against them when they resort to killing innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and spends the rest of the film [[TheSiege defending the truck from his colleagues]].
* Bo Wolffe, the protagonist of ''Sleight'', is a street magician by day, but a drug dealer by night in order to support himself and his kid sister after the death of their mother left them orphaned. When his boss, Angelo, starts dragging him into increasingly violent situations [[spoiler:including [[MoralEventHorizon forcing Bo to]] [[AnArmAndALeg hack off the hand of a rival dealer]]]] he does everything he can think of to get out of the life.
* Kang In-goo from ''Film/TheShowMustGoOn2007'' is a high-ranking gangster, but he's trying to provide for his family, who live in less than ideal conditions.

* Half the point of ''Literature/LesMiserables''; justified because the messed-up justice system of the time is what the book is ''about''. Making Valjean a Justified Criminal. The book also makes it clear that the poverty of the Thenardiers is no excuse; so perhaps it's the HeelFaceTurn that's important and Valjean is really TheAtoner.
** Valjean's original crime was stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister and her children, however he broke a window to steal that bread, making it burglary. By the time he gets out of prison, he can't get a job (because he's a convict). It should also be noted that most of what Valjean steals he might have been given, had he asked (the bread, and bishop's silver). Also, Valjean only stole from those who could afford it, whereas the Thenardiers' extortion forced Fantine into prostitution, which caused her death.
* Henry from ''Literature/TheTimeTravelersWife'', because when you end up being dropped naked into unexpected situations, odds are you're going to have to steal clothes and beat up on anyone who decides to come after you when you're in a vulnerable state.
* A lot of people and ''governments'' in ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' do things that would put them in jail (or worse) if it wasn't for the crazy circumstances.
* ''Literature/HollowPlaces'' has Tyler. He only stole to feed his granddaughter, yet isn't bitter about the length of his sentence. [[spoiler: Too bad it ends up being for nothing, as the granddaughter is eventually killed by the woman who got custody after Tyler's imprisonment.]]
* In the ''Literature/MaximumRide'' series the main characters often steal in order to survive and to get to where they need to go including stealing a van and somebody's ATM card + PIN.
* In ''Literature/OnTheRun'', the main characters find themselves having to steal food, clothes, even cars in order to survive in their quest to prove their parents' innocence.
* A couple examples from the ''Literature/DarkLife'' series: [[spoiler: The Seablite gang from book one and the Drift surfs from ''Rip Tide''.]] They don't have any other options.
* Lisbeth Salander in Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy steals hundreds of millions of dollars by very clever use of computer hacking and disguise, and gets the reader's sympathy for her cleverness. Anyway, the original owner was a nasty villain who got the money in very nasty ways and who clearly "deserved it". Moreover, Salander had had a hard life and when she became a multi-millionaire, does not use the stolen money extravagantly -- just enough to enjoy life a bit, in between very harsh and dangerous adventures.
* Subverted in ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'', with Bull. While looking like an inhuman monster didn't hurt his descent into villainy, it wasn't the root cause.
-->'''Bull:''' I could give you kids a sad song and dance about how nobody wants to hire you when you look like a monster, but the truth is I didnít need much of an excuse to get into this life. I like to fight. I always have. A job as a supervillain let me trade punches with the toughest men and women on the planet.
* The character of "Cricket" in ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'' can talk to insects, but no one will believe him. At first, he commands bugs to commit crimes just to prove he can do it. Later, however, he becomes homeless and jobless, and has the insects steal so he can feed himself.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Before the show begins, Gunn has formulated a gang of homeless youths who swipe food and defend their ghetto from intruding vampires. Subverted in a later episode; after the running battle was won and Gunn left to join the main cast the gang devolved into murdering anything non-human, including several completely harmless "balance" demons, for fun.
* Most of the teens from the HBO series ''TheCorner'' (which is inspired by a true story)
* Deconstructed in ''Series/BreakingBad''. Walter White, a chemistry teacher starts cooking meth to pay for cancer treatment and leave an inheritance for his wife and children. Through the series, his justification slowly falls apart, and it becomes clear that he's doing it out of pride of his own accomplishments for the most part. [[spoiler: When Walter finds his supposedly-terminal cancer is in remission and he may survive after all, the effect this has on his worldview is devastating. In a later episode he admits that he's sorry his cancer didn't kill him fast enough.]]
* The brothers Winchester on ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' can't get legitimate work due to their monster-hunting activities, so they support themselves through credit card fraud, hustling, and the occasional act of burglary. Sam also has a habit of boosting cars when he's separated from Dean.
* ''Iljimae Il Ji-mae'', Yong, Swe-Dol, and arguably the Castor Oil Gang.
* Played with in ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'', where FantasticRacism against mutants drove them to crime; one called [[PunnyName Notacon]] even says he only landed in jail because he stole food to survive. On the other hand, Notacon's the exception; all the others we see are all too happy to play MonsterOfTheWeek.
* Mike Ross in the premiere of ''Series/{{Suits}}'' agrees to act as a one-time drug courier so he can afford his grandmother's medical care.
* The crew of Moya on ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' is made up of a collection of escaped convicts on the run from the Peacekeepers over crimes they [[ItsALongStory may or may not have committed]]. Many of their less than legal actions over the course of the series are in the sole interests of their own survival, and are perpetrated against those [[GreyAndGrayMorality far, far worse]] than themselves (such as robbing a Shadow Depository--an underworld bank where pirates and other criminals store their ill-gotten goods--to finance the rescue of D'Argo's son from slavery).
* A {{subversion}} is an episode of ''Series/{{Chuck}}'' wherein the Buy More is robbed by a bumbling, all around likable guy. [[spoiler:Who is actually a competent, ruthless agent of the NebulousEvilOrganization in the series and who did the robbery only to draw Chuck and his partners out]].
* ''Series/{{CSINY}}'' had a season finale with a bank robber whose family was being held up until he robbed the bank [[spoiler:subverted later when you discover his family doesn't exist, and he was lying all along. The episode ends on a cliffhanger since he took Mac hostage. The first episode of the following seasons reveals that he does have a family, they just weren't in any danger (since he was the mastermind behind it all)]].
** Another episode of ''Series/{{CSINY}}'' has [[spoiler: two young boys who were trying to get enough money to pay their mother's rent]]. They ended up being robbed by a much less sympathetic bank robber who was casing the bank they robbed and [[spoiler:shot one of them to steal the money. [[LaserGuidedKarma He ends up being run over in his escape attempt]] when the [=CSIs=] catch up with him]].
** Another episode had [[spoiler:the daughter of a bitterly estranged couple, desperate to escape the pain and torment of living in the middle of such a relantionship, rob her parents so she could run away with her boyfriend (who helped her with the robbery). She never intended for her father to die, it was ''his wife'' who killed him, and even she comes off as sympathetic as the husband was willing to destroy his company, bankrupting her, their daughter, and his best friend/business partner, just to spite the wife.]]
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': In the episode "The Bank Job", a father and son attempt to rob a bank in order to pay off some meth dealers who are holding the mother hostage. Luckily, the Leverage team was in the middle of conning a corrupt judge with a deposit box in the bank when this all went down.
** The cast of Leverage itself probably qualifies due to their Robin Hood philosophy of [[JustLikeRobinHood committing crimes to help people]].
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'':
** Sam leaped into a masked bank robber, who with his two brothers were trying to steal ''exactly'' the amount their pa needed to pay off the mortgage to the same bank.
** Sam leaped into a man who, along with his friend, robbed a church in order to pay for his friend's daughter's treatment for fever (which his friend's wife had died of). The church refused to give them any money from the donations as "They said we would spend it all on rum."
* One of the last seasons of ''Series/StargateSG1'' had an episode where the team gated into a museum, were quickly considered Terrorists, and had to pretend to be taking hostages and acting the part before they could fix the gate and return to Earth.
* In ''Series/OrangeIsTheNewBlack'', many of the inmates are depicted this way, resorting to crime due to a need to make money ([[spoiler: Taystee]]), to keep from becoming a victim of [[TheMafiya organized crime]] ([[spoiler: Red]]), or for an honest mistake ([[spoiler: Yoga Jones]]), to point out a few.
* ''Series/{{Accused}}'': Willy steals out of desperation to pay for his daughter's wedding.

* A lot of socially conscious GangstaRap would explain this in bleak gritty detail, usually by rappers who would put it in proper context. Rappers like Music/IceT, Music/IceCube, and 2pac are mostly known for their justified crime tales, like the two hip-hop quotes from above.
* Probably about half of all folk songs ever. Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd" is one of the best examples.

* King David entering the holy temple to eat the "showbread" - consecrated loaves that only priests are allowed to eat - along with his starving men. The priests allow him to do it, but it's still a violation of Mosaic law. Jesus recounts this incident as a TakeThat to the "law-abiding" Pharisees.
* Among the legendary stories of the wise Japanese judge Ooka Tadasuke is one where a man out of work sneaks into a rice warehouse and steals just enough rice to feed his family for the week. He intends to replace it when he gets a job.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* Montoya in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG was a small-time criminal who was really only in it because he was trying to provide for his girlfriend (who is implied to be a waitress). After OneLastJob goes wrong they run off and make a new life. In fact really the biggest crimes he's shown to commit are driving potentially stolen vehicles and covering for his partners (which granted is still illegal but it seems pretty small when you consider said partners guilty of theft and ''cold-blooded murder''). The one time he did attempt to kill someone, it was the assassin that he was rightfully angry at for the brutal murder of all but one of his partners and employer.

* In ''Der Silbersee'' (''The Silver Lake'') by Music/KurtWeill, Severin is driven by starvation to rob a grocery store and is shot while trying to make off with a pineapple. Olim, the police officer who shot him, debates with himself whether to take mercy on the wounded criminal. He does, and they develop a friendship.
* In ''Theatre/TheGirlOfTheGoldenWest'', the Girl, after learning the truth that Dick Johnson, the gentleman whom she has just sheltered, is really the notorious [[TheHighwayman road-agent]] Ramerrez, turns on him fiercely, accuses him of having come to rob her and orders him to GetOut. He admits to everything except trying to rob her, and explains what drove him to the life of crime that, having kissed her, he now wants to abandon:
-->"I am called Ramerrez--I have robbed--I am a vagabond--a vagabond by birth--a cheat and a swindler by profession. I'm all that--and my father was all that too. I was born, brought up, educated, thrived on thieves' money--but until six months ago, when he died, I didn't know it. I lived in Monterey--Monterey where we met. I lived decently. I wasn't the thing I am to-day. I only learned the truth when he died and left me with a rancho and a band of thieves--nothing else--nothing for us all--and I... I was my father's son--no excuse... it was in me--in the blood... I took to the road. I didn't mind much after--the first time. I only drew the line at killing. I wouldn't have that. And that's the man I am--the blackguard I am."

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The BigBad's MotiveRant at the end of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' has shades of this. [[spoiler: Ganondorf claims that, originally, his motive for attempting to usurp the King of Hyrule, take the land for his own and take the Triforce was because he was tired of watching the Gerudo people live in the dry, unforgiving desert as opposed to the lush plains and forests that the rest of Hyrule enjoyed]].
-->'''[[spoiler: Ganondorf]]''': I... coveted that wind, I suppose.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' includes references to this, including one instance where Sweet outright says that he and Carl robbed people at gunpoint for the money for both their mother's lifesaving operation and to put their sister through college.
** In fact, the whole plot of ''San Andreas'' employs this trope, as CJ involves himself in many dangerous, morally questionable activities (stealing cars to fund a dealership, infiltrating [[{{Area51}} Area 69]], robbing a mob-owned casino) in order to rescue his brother from prison and his family/neighborhood from internal and external destruction.
* Played with in ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' with PhantomThief Mask☆[=DeMasque=]. Why does he steal? [[spoiler: To support his wife's shopping habit. Since he is afraid she'll leave him if he's not as rich as he says he is, he hasn't considered just telling her to cut down on the spending sprees. When the wife does find out how her husband got the money and why he did the crimes, she basically tells him not to worry about spending so much money on her because she will love him no matter what]].
** In the fourth game, [[spoiler:Drew Misham, a starving artist, decides to use his daughter's artistic talents to create forgeries in order to support them both.]]
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' brings us the [[FantasticCasteSystem casteless dwarves]]. Due to their ancestry, these dwarves are disallowed legitimate jobs and segregated from the main population. As such, they're usually forced into some form of criminality just to feed themselves. Towards the end of ''Origins'', if you help Prince Bhelen become king he abolishes the caste system, freeing every dwarf including casteless to do what they want.
* The city-nation of Champa in ''VideoGame/GoldenSunTheLostAge'' is driven to piracy when the world upheaval of the plot ruins their fishing waters, the only reliable resource they had (there's a [[NeverMessWithGranny master blacksmith]] and an ancient {{Magitek}} forge, but no workable ore). There's indicated to be some reprieve after Briggs finds an island cave full of treasures, but [[VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn thirty years later]] they've returned to piracy.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' features Commander Shepard teaming up with Cerberus, the terrorist organization they fought in the first game (and would fight again in the third) because something needed to be done about the Collectors, and none of the legitimate authorities were willing. It is rightly pointed out that what they are doing could potentially be called "treason" and result in their trial and execution. [[ToBeLawfulOrGood They do it anyway.]]
* Wolf from ''VideoGame/PAYDAYTheHeist'', in contrast to the other heisters in the crew. He was once just a software developer, until his company went bankrupt from a combination of clients who wouldn't pay, and the 2008 economic recession. Completely broke, out of options, and driven to the edge of sanity, Wolf [[FreakOut snapped]] and turned to crime. He took to it [[FromNobodyToNightmare a bit]] [[AxCrazy too]] [[TokenEvilTeammate well]], and hasn't looked back since.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/AntiheroForHire'' The Vengeful Sisters consider themselves this.
* Pekka from ''Webcomic/FairyDust'' has long worked for the Amicale and still dabbles in illicit activities, but goes farther and farther out of his way to protect his surrogate grandchild from them.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', most of the [[VillainProtagonist Undersiders]] are this, as a result of their social situation, the need to take care of family, their powers, or their upbringing.
* The Meridell/Darigan war in {{Website/Neopets}} starts out looking like the evil overlord Darigan and his people are coming for peaceful Meridell's magic orb and want it at any cost, just because they can. Except that as it turns out, the orb originally belonged to Darigan and was stolen from him by Meridell, and he wants his property returned. As it turned out, more than a few players agreed with him in the end.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Scott Lang from ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' helped Crossfire rob banks to pay for the medical treatment of Scott's daughter, Cassie. Some time after Cassie got cured of her disease, Crossfire kidnapped her to make Scott pay him a share of the stolen money. This prompted Scott to steal Hank Pym's Ant-Man suit so he could quickly pull off a solo bank heist.
* A minor example in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' Mako and Bolin probably never committed anything more than petty crime, but they used to "run numbers and stuff" for the Triple Threat Triad because they were orphans living on the street.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'': By season 2, all Buff Frog wants to do is keep his kids fed. So he and other monsters attempt to steal some corn from the well off Royal Family whose ancestors stole all the good land.

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_dilemma The Heinz Dilemma]], used in developmental psychology in the formulation of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development Kohlberg's stages of moral development.]]
--> A man has a loved one dying from cancer. The pharmacist holds the cure but is charging ten times the cost of the drug. Try as he may, the man can only gather half the money the pharmacist demands. The pharmacist refuses to budge. Should the man steal the drug? Why (not)?

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Reportedly two or three guys at an office felt sorry for a friend of theirs who was dying of a curable disease but had no insurance and couldn't get it because of the pre-existing condition. So they conspired to have the guy get treated by having him commit identity fraud (since they knew what he was doing and allowed it, it's identity fraud rather than identity theft) by pretending to be one of them and use his insurance. It wasn't really said why (probably because prosecuting doesn't get the insurer its money back) the insurance company agreed to let the four of them pay back the cost of the operation instead of prosecuting them for insurance fraud.
* There's a (possibly apocryphal) story about Fiorello [=LaGuardia=], when he was sitting as a judge, had a woman brought before him on the charge of stealing a loaf of bread. The woman explained that she only did it because she had no money and was desperate to feed her poor and sick daughter. [=LaGuardia=]. moved by the woman's plight, asked the shopkeeper to drop the charges. When he refused (for fear of setting a precedent), [=LaGuardia=] fined the woman five dollars for theft. He then fined everyone in the courtroom (himself included) five dollars for living in a city where a woman had to steal to feed her children, and handed the money over to the defendant.