More Details Emerge on Final Days of 'Geezer Thief's' Life
By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — New details have emerged about the "Geezer Thief" who attempted to rob a Midtown store holding an oxygen tank during a three-state crime spree that ended with his death along a Maryland roadside.
Arthur Williams, 63, was a life long criminal who spent 33 years in prison and suffered from emphysema and diabetes, according to the New York Times.
But it was the robbery of a men’s suit store in Manhattan during the last month of his life that he will be remembered for in New York.
Williams walked into a Sarar menswear store on July 9 on Madison Avenue and 46th Street with an oxygen tank in a bag on his shoulder and breathing tubes coming out of his nose.
He then pulled out a silver revolver and demanded money from the salesman who offered to help him. Williams fired the gun three times — just missing the salesman — before fleeing the scene in a black Cadillac with Alabama plates. He left without any of the store's money.
Two days later he was killed while driving during a high-speed police chase in Clear Springs, Md.
Williams was released on parole from jail in July 2009. It was almost a year later that his string of robberies began, the Times reported.
He allegedly entered the Family Loan Company where he made frequent payments near his home in Gadsden, Ala., on July 1. Instead of giving them cash he reportedly held of up the business with a gun, setting into motion the improbable events that would lead to his death.
Five days later he told his wife he was going to get his regular kidney dialysis treatment. He underwent the dialysis and then dropped off his car at a garage for repairs. He then got into a second car — the black Cadillac — and headed North on July 6, the paper reported.
The Times was able to piece together much of his trip based on receipts and tickets found in his getaway car after it flipped over and crashed along a Maryland roadside.
On July 7 he was pulled over and given a speeding ticket in Virginia. He arrived in New York on July 8 and stopped to get gas on West 145th Street.
He got another ticket on July 9 – this time just a parking violation – on West 144th Street in front of the building where his 92-year-old mother still lives, the Times reported.
Seven hours later he walked into Sarar in Midtown packing a gun and, of course, his oxygen tank.