The Grim Tale of the Oxygen-Toting Grandpa Robber, from Start to Violent Finish

The Grim Tale of the Oxygen-Toting Grandpa Robber, from Start to Violent Finish

The aging bandit who dragged an oxygen tank to his Madison Avenue crime spree—then died in his shiny black Cadillac during a high-speed car chase with the cops—was a career criminal and jailhouse preacher.

The New York Times gives 63-year-old Arthur Williams his final send-up in the Metro section today, titled The Final Crime Spree of an Oxygen-Toting Robber." The New York-born career criminal spent 33 of the last 35 years in prison, during which he found God and became a jailhouse preacher. Paroled in 2009, he moved to rural Alabama and lived a life of Christian devotion with his wife—until, almost exactly one year after his release from prison, he strolled into his own bank with a gun and held them up. Halfway through the stick-up he had to sit down to catch his breath.

He absconded in a black Cadillac that his wife didn't know he owned. He drove to New York, breaking laws all the way, and visited his mother, whose memory is fading and who forgets whether her son is dead or alive. He went, then, to Madison Avenue, where his failed clothing store "stick-up" generated media attention. Fleeing, he eventually crashed his car during a high-speed police chase in Maryland. And now he's dead, destined to be remembered as a career criminal so dedicated to his craft that even an oxygen tank could not hold him back from that which he loved: robbing people at gunpoint. Good-bye, grandpa robber. [NYT]