Local News

Bank robbery suspect: It was just a joke

williamsIn a rare Sunday morning hearing, Judge Thomas Keith in his first Stark County Circuit Court preceding found probable cause to charge Joshua Allen Williams, 28, of Toulon with Financial Institution Robbery, a Class 1 felony.

According to the criminal complaint and sworn testimony from arresting Deputy Eric Peed, Williams entered the State Bank of Toulon on Saturday, May 4, just before 11:15 a.m.

With a plastic bag over his head, he proceeded to tell one of the tellers to present him all the money in the drawer. After the teller refused, Williams tore a hole in the bag and said he “wasn’t very good at this” and left.

Williams returned to the bank around 12:15 p.m. and was identified as the suspect and arrested.

In an initial interview with Deputy Peed, Williams stated it was “just a joke” and he was “trying to play a prank on the tellers but it went wrong.”

Williams, prior to State Attorney James Owens could stop him, stated “I never said any of this.” Judge Keith later also denied Williams to comment, stating it was for his own protection until he could see his attorney.

Court appointed counsel was given to Williams based on his financial needs. Bond was set at $500,000 with 10% to apply and special conditions to not enter the State Bank of Toulon or any of its branches.

“I won’t make bond,” said Williams before Judge Keith asked him again not to comment.

Williams has a history of three felony, including two controlled substance felonies and one weapons felony, for which he was previously sentenced to a combined 6 years for. Given the circumstances and the nature of the crime, Judge Keith found the bond to be sufficient and not excessive.

If found guilty, Williams could face 3-4 years in prison, 4-15 years if circumstance warrant an extended sentence, up to $25,000 fine and probation for up to 4 years.

The court will hold the next preliminary hearing on May 24 at 11 a.m.