A Washington, DC, man has been convicted of stealing a car from an 87-year-old woman in an elaborate scheme to tow it to a Maryland junkyard where he sold it for scrap, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
Thomas Williams, 43, posed as a Washington, DC, public official in order to confront the elderly woman at her Northeast Washington home and take her 1996 Ford Contour, prosecutors said in a news release.
Williams was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, false impersonation of a public official and failure to appear after a three-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24.
In describing the theft, prosecutors said that Williams first asked a tow truck driver if he was available to tow a car to a Maryland junkyard and then drove to the victim’s home in Northeast Washington. Williams told the victim that he was from the District of Columbia government and had orders to take her car.
When the woman pleaded with Williams not to take the car, which she intended to give to one of her granddaughters, Williams took the keys out of her hand, according to prosecutors. The car was hooked to the tow truck and taken to a junkyard where Williams sold the car for scrap, the news release said.
Following up on the victim’s report, the Metropolitan Police Department traced the vehicle’s identification number to the scrap yard. After reviewing the paperwork, the MPD was able to link Williams to both the vehicle and the crime. After he was arrested, Williams was released by a Superior Court judge and ordered to return on a subsequent date. He failed to do so and was later apprehended by a fugitive task force.