MIAMI, FL – Robert Willis Jr., 47, of Fort Lauderdale, Fl., was sentenced to 145 months in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Rodney Smith for his participation in a string of bank robberies.
According to court records, between March 23-26, 2022, Willis entered three banks and demanded money while warning tellers he had a gun. On March 26, 2022, he entered TD Bank located at 1371 West Palmetto Boulevard in Boca Raton, Fla. He approached and passed a note to the teller which read, “I have a gun. Do not give me dye money. Do not give me mark money. Do not push any buttons or you will die. Empty your drawers now.”
The victim teller gave Willis more than $6,000 in U.S. currency, including a bait bill pack that contained a GPS tracking device. As he left the bank’s parking lot, a bank manager was able to photograph the getaway vehicle’s license plate. Willis’s Mitsubishi Outlander soon was spotted by Broward County Sheriff’s deputies. Willis fled the marked police cars, crashing into multiple vehicles and eventually flipping his own car onto its side near the corner of US 441 and Commercial Boulevard in Tamarac, Fla. Most of the cash, including the bait bill pack, was recovered near the crash site.
Willis, who’d had multiple prior convictions for armed/strongarm robbery, also had been convicted of attempted murder.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and acting Special Agent in Charge Robert M. Dewitt, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement. FBI, Miami Office, investigated this case, with assistance from Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and Boca Raton Police Services Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita White prosecuted the case.