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Nearly four months after he won early release because of Covid-19, convicted bank robber is arrested for Back Bay bank robbery

Boston Police report arresting a man on charges he robbed a Santander Bank branch in the Back Bay yesterday, close to four months after he got a compassionate early release for bank robberies in Brookline and West Bridgewater.

Police say Stephen Williams, 57, walked into the Santander Bank branch at 575 Boylston St. around 12:20 p.m. and handed a teller a note "implying that he was armed."

He fled with money, but never got a chance to enjoy it - not long after, a BPD officer working a detail at 650 Albany St. near Boston Medical Center in the South End, spotted a man matching his description and, after a brief foot chase, determined it was, in fact, him, based in part on "cash and other evidence related to the incident" recovered from him.

Williams was then charged with armed bank robbery.

Williams had been serving a five-year prison sentence for robbing a RTN Federal Credit Union branch in Brookline and a branch of the Mansfield Bank in West Bridgewater in November, 2016 - two robberies that netted him a total of $2,287. It was his latest conviction in a 33-conviction criminal career that court records show dates to 1982 for offenses that include arson, auto theft, breaking and entering and larceny. Prosecutors, who had urged a sentence of nine years for the bank robberies, said he committed many of his crimes while on probation for earlier crimes.

Earlier this year, however, US District Court Judge Mark Wolf agreed to release him seven months early - with the consent of the US Attorney's office - because he has "severe gastrointestinal issues" that he was no longer able to get adequate care for what with prison doctors being forced to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Court documents show he had a stomach ulcer severe enough that he lost a substantial amount of weight and frequently incapacitated him, and that prison doctors would not send him out for a consultation with a gastroenterologist even after a course of antibiotics failed to reduce his symptoms.

Had he been denied early release, Williams would have reached the end of his sentence this coming February.

On July 23, after testing negative on a Covid-19 test at the McCreary federal prison in Pine Knot, KY, Williams was driven to a nearby Greyhound terminal and put on a bus to Boston, along with enough money for a meal on the trip and cab fare from South Station to a relative's home in Brockton, according to court records.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

There are a variety of people we could release from prisons to help reduce the covid spread.

Do violent felons really have to be one of them?

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wearing a mask? i feel like criminals should remove their mask while committing crimes now to keep an even playing field.

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Editing: the article includes the phrase "US District Court Mark Wolf "... I assume that's a typo, and the guy is an officer of the court (or judge, whatever)... not that the guy is the court. Although not being a lawyer, what do I know?

Political: I'm not a conservative (nor a progressive), but it's this kind of story that makes conservatives despise "compassionate libs" as a bunch of fools.

In my hard-hearted opinion, this guy should have been in prison for life with no possibility of release under any circumstances, because he's as clearly a career criminal as you could possibly imagine.

In fact, I'm opposed to the "compassionate release" of prisoners in general, even during a pandemic. Prison is, unfortunately, a dangerous place in general, not just for medical reasons. Why should the law-abiding rest of us (the majority, I hope) have to suffer even more than we already are, when criminals are released early? How much compassion did the criminals show to their victims?

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Stupid omission fixed, thanks.

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On a serious note, when I think of bank robberies these days, I think of people who are desperate for one reason or another -- poverty, addiction, medical debt. I don't know the right answer, but neither prison nor compassionate release really fits with it. :-/

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Yup! They're desperate, stupid and/or vicious people who deserve to be locked up for terrorizing innocent people and putting their lives at risk. Sorry, no compassion, despite the Covid-19 virus.

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At least this guy makes it easy to catch him again.

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The prosecutor asked for 9 years, while the defense argued his advancing age mitigated any threat to the public, which turned out to be BS. Lots of interesting details in this Globe article from 2018. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/03/09/bank-robber-life-long-viole...

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I've known people with addiction and mental health issues and they don't rob banks. Watch how you smear people who suffer from mental health issues cheeto.

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What a dipshit.

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Mine was "what a dumbass"

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Expected! We release people from prison with no new skills. No rehabilitation whatsoever. Back into lives of poverty, drug addiction, and other societal vices. Of course he was gonna offend again.

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Oh, so it's someone else's fault. This it's not my fault syndrome has got to stop.

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One of life's early lessons is telling right from wrong.

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