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Press Release

Toledo Man Sentenced to More Than 16 Years in Prison for Armed Bank Robbery, Carjacking, and Escape

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

TOLEDO  – Don Woodson Ellis, 32, of Toledo, Ohio, was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison – or 201 months – by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, after he pleaded guilty to using a firearm to steal a vehicle, rob a bank, possessing a firearm as a felon, and escape from jail.

According to court documents, on Aug. 13, 2018, Ellis used a firearm to steal a vehicle from a victim in the parking lot of a Toledo-area gas station.  Later that day, court documents say Ellis entered a Fifth Third Bank on Glendale Ave in Toledo, demanded money from a bank employee, and fled the area in a vehicle.

Toledo police later located and arrested Ellis.  Police identified the vehicle Ellis was driving as the vehicle stolen from the victim earlier in the day and located stolen money from the bank and a handgun inside.

Ellis is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous felony conviction of bank robbery in Monroe County Michigan.

While incarcerated at the Lucas County Corrections Center, court documents state that Ellis convinced another inmate to switch identities with him and was released within days of his arrest due to the deception.  Court records show that Ellis was apprehended by law enforcement days later in Michigan.

This case was investigated by the Cleveland FBI, Toledo Resident Agency and the Toledo Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Simko. 



Daniel Ball 

Updated February 6, 2023

Violent Crime