COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Fairfield County man who committed three bank robberies in 2020 and one in 2017 — and was accused of others going back more than 20 years — was sentenced in a U.S. District Court.
According to a release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker, William Johnson, 58, of Lancaster, admitted to committing armed robberies in August 2020 in Athens and October 2020 in Marietta. The plea agreement includes a sentence of more than 13 years in federal prison.
The agreement also details the robberies in which he brandished a firearm at Hocking Valley Bank on East State Street in Athens, where he wore a prosthetic forehead and nose, skin-toned arm sleeves and gloves, makeup and a COVID-19 mask. Johnson reportedly ordered employees to get on the floor while he emptied several drawers of cash, tied employees’ hands with zip ties and ordered the bank manager to give him the keys to the bank manager’s car. Johnson then fled the bank in a stolen vehicle with more than $25,000.
Two months later, Johnson robbed a Citizens Bank on North Second Street in Marietta. He was wearing a full-length Halloween-style mask and a red hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head. Johnson possessed a gun and forced his way behind the counter, walking out with nearly $11,400.
On the evening of the Marietta robbery, Johnson, who had an arrest warrant in West Virginia on other robbery charges from 2017, was identified across state lines in Wood County. He attempted to flee, telling officers that they would have to kill him to take him into custody. Officers tased Johnson and arrested him.
A search of his vehicle revealed more than $9,000 in cash, a loaded handgun, zip ties and disguises.
The Williamstown Police Department said Johnson, known as “Billy White Shoes” was found in a motel in Parkersburg, West Virginia. But he failed to appear at his indictment for the Oct. 31, 2017, robbery and, at the time, was wanted for Ohio parole violations.
Earlier, the Marietta Times reported that Johnson had been named a suspect in robbing the same Citizens Bank in Marietta and three other Washington County banks in 2002.