NEWARK – Authorities arrested and charged a 60-year-old Elizabeth man and two alleged accomplices who are allegedly responsible for a string of six armed bank robberies, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Tuesday.
Claude Williams is charged by complaint with six counts of bank robbery and two counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Andrea Dorsey, 53, and Teresa Webb, 41, both of Plainfield, are each charged with one count of bank robbery.
According to the complaint, Claude Williams is charged with committing six armed bank robberies between Sept. 26, 2011, and July 12, 2012. Williams allegedly used a similar procedure for each robbery: after entering the bank armed with a handgun and wearing a bandana, hooded sweat shirt or jacket and white gloves, he would vault over the counter and demand money from bank tellers at gunpoint.
Williams is accused of robbing six banks, as follows:
- Sept. 26, 2011 – Financial Resources Credit Union in Franklin Township
- Nov. 21, 2011 – Somerset Savings Bank in Somerset
- Feb. 27, 2012 – Provident Bank in Piscataway
- April 17, 2012 – Provident Bank in Clifton
- June 20, 2012 – Fulton Bank in Metuchen
- July 12, 2012 – Unity Bank in Middlesex
In several of the bank robberies, Williams allegedly sent an accomplice into the bank to case it shortly before the robbery. Before the Sept. 26, 2011, robbery, Dorsey allegedly entered the bank but did not conduct any banking transactions. Before the July 12, 2012, robbery, Webb allegedly entered the bank twice without doing any banking.
Prior to the July 12 robbery, an unarmed, off-duty police officer was parked across from the Unity Bank. The officer observed Williams leave the bank, get into the rear of the allegedly getaway car, and crouch down to hide. After noting the license plate number, the officer followed the car.
After an unsuccessful attempt to elude the officer, the getaway car stopped. Williams got out of the car and allegedly pointed his gun at the officer, forcing her to leave the scene without apprehending Williams and his alleged accomplice.
Later, on Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, law enforcement observed Williams driving in the vicinity of a Unity Bank in Somerset. On July 30, law enforcement again observed Williams and Dorsey in the vicinity of the bank. Law enforcement stopped the car blocks from the bank and arrested Williams and Dorsey. Williams was wearing a bandana. Law enforcement found a handgun and white gloves inside the car, authorities said. Webb was arrested the same day driving Williams’ car.
If convicted of the bank robbery charges, Williams, Dorsey and Webb each face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, for each count with which they are charged. If convicted of one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, Williams faces a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in prison for brandishing the firearm, which would run consecutive to any other prison term. If convicted of both counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, Williams faces a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years in prison to run consecutive to any other prison term.
Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to the arrests and charges. He also thanked the Somerset County Prosecutors Office and the Middlesex Borough, Piscataway, Clifton, Metuchen, North Plainfield and Plainfield Police Departments for their excellent work in this case.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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