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Press Release

District Man Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Stealing Car From 87-Year-Old Woman And Related Charge-Defendant Posed As Government Employee, Sold Victim’s Car For Scrap Metal-

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

     WASHINGTON - Thomas Williams, 41, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to eight years in prison for stealing a car from an 87-year-old woman after pretending to be a public officer of the District of Columbia and then failing to appear for a court date following his arrest in the case, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced. 

     Williams was found guilty in March 2013 of four charges following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. They included second-degree theft of a senior citizen, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, false impersonation of a public official, and failure to appear. The Honorable Stuart G. Nash sentenced Williams to six years in prison for the crimes associated with the car theft, and another two years for failing to show up for a court appearance. Williams also was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution. After his prison term, Williams will be placed on three years of supervised release.

     According to the government’s evidence, on Aug. 16, 2012, Williams flagged down a tow truck driver and asked him if he was available to tow a car to a junkyard in Maryland.  The tow truck driver agreed and the two men drove that morning to the home of the victim, who lives alone in Northeast Washington. Williams knocked on the front door, flashed an identification card, and told the victim that he was from the District of Columbia government and had orders to take her car, a 1996 Ford Contour that was parked in the driveway.  She begged and pleaded with Williams not to take her car, saying that she was going to give it to one of her granddaughters. 

     Williams, however, insisted that he had to take the car and threatened to charge the victim if she did not comply. He took the keys out of her hand, hooked the car to the tow truck, and drove it to a junkyard in Maryland, where he sold the vehicle for scrap metal.

     An officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) followed up on the victim’s report by checking on the car’s vehicle identification number and finding that the vehicle had been scrapped at the junkyard. The officer then went to the junkyard, reviewed the paperwork, and linked Williams to the vehicle and the crime.

     Following his arrest, Williams was released by a Superior Court judge and ordered to return on a subsequent date.  He did not return on that date and was eventually apprehended by the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. 

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised those who worked on the case from the MPD, the U.S. Marshals Service and its Superior Court Warrant Squad, and the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Theresa Nelson, Litigation Services Specialist Thomas Royal, and Victim Advocate Kristina Rose. Finally, he commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Lallas, who investigated and prosecuted the case.


Updated February 19, 2015