A federal grand jury in Newark indicted a 61-year-old Elizabeth NJ man on bank robbery charges.
According to authorities, Claude Williams committed several robberies between September 26, 2011 and July 30, 2012. The robberies occurred in three counties: Somerset County, Middlesex County, and Passaic County. Mr. Williams is accused of robbing banks in Metuchen, Middlesex Borough, Piscataway, Franklin Township, North Plainfield, and Clifton.
Prior to his arrest in July 2012, Mr. Williams was seen exiting a bank and getting into a car. An unarmed, off-duty police officer followed the car until the driver stopped. At that point, Mr. Williams got out of the car and pointed a gun at the officer, who then had no choice but to leave the scene without making an arrest. Mr. Williams was later apprehended.
Each bank robbery charge that Mr. Williams faces carries with it a potential penalty of 25 years in prison.
Although Mr. Williams faces federal charges, the penalties would still be severe even if he faced state charges. In New Jersey, robbery is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1. The statute stipulates that if the actor used a deadly weapon during the robbery, the offense can be classified as a first degree felony. If Mr. Williams was convicted of first degree robbery under the statute, he would be subject to a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Earlier this month, 54-year-old Plainfield resident Andrea Dorsey pleaded guilty to charges related to assisting Mr. Williams with his bank robberies. Ms. Dorsey admitted to casing banks prior to the robberies and serving as Mr. Williams’ getaway driver. As a result of her involvement, Ms. Dorsey could be sentenced to as many as 25 years in prison.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled “Elizabeth Man, 61, Indicted for 10-Month String of Bank Robberies Across Three Counties.”