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Famed light bulb eater accused of being bank robber

June 8, 2012 4:53:03 AM PDT
A 22-year-old man who holds a curious website record has been arrested in a string of brazen bank robberies across New York City.

Robert J. Williams was arrested Wednesday in Brooklyn in the attempted robbery of an Apple Bank, said Lt. Mark Crawford of the 61st Precinct. Police believe Williams robbed several banks per hit, changing his clothes between robberies.

He was arrested in five other robberies at banks around the city dating from April through June, and is suspected in five more. Police said Williams has no prior criminal record, but has a penchant for robbing banks without a weapon.

He also apparently holds a record from the website recordsetter.com for eating a light bulb the fastest, at 33.8 seconds. Video posted online shows him choking the glass bulb down his throat. Recordsetter.com was started in 2004 and is a site where wannabe record-holders can post videos of their feats.

Williams was being held by police. It was not clear if he had an attorney.

Police said Williams robbed the same Apple bank last week of $2,500 by handing a teller a note written on a deposit slip. Crawford said the suspect returned Wednesday, wearing a blue jacket and cream-colored cap. He started to write another note, but took off when he noticed the tellers watching him, but the bank had already pressed the alarm.

Crawford said a teller followed the suspect out and saw him shedding his jacket and putting on a plaid shirt. Crawford, who was on the scene, said he noticed a man in a plaid shirt texting as he walked by the police car.

The commotion had drawn a large crowd. But Crawford said, "This guy has his head buried in his phone and wasn't even looking at us. The mannerisms and the way he was behaving were totally unrealistic. You're gonna at least look."

Crawford said he asked for a description of the suspect, and then got out and stopped the man, who turned out to be Williams. Police said Williams had a bag with a blue jacket and cream-colored cap.

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