It was no laughing matter on Wednesday as a Bethlehem Township woman admitted she held up a bank, stealing more than $7,000 after she told tellers she had a bomb, while clad as a clown. Carolyn A. Williams pleaded guilty in Northampton County Court to felony robbery.
"I did it and I'm sorry I did it," Williams, a 44-year-old married mother of two said to Judge Stephen Baratta. "I'm just hoping that once you understand all the facts surrounding [it] that you'll understand why." Dressed in a clown suit, red nose, wig, leggings and a white scarf, Williams robbed the KNBT branch in Bethlehem Township last summer, claiming she was forced to because of a kidnapper who still had her children.
On Aug. 6, Williams told tellers she had a bomb and ordered them to fill her backpack with large bills. She was arrested shortly after the heist as she smoked a cigarette about a mile away in her car at the township's park complex. She told officers there was a bomb in the vehicle and again offered a story of coercion, saying "at least three men" had kidnapped her earlier and that her kids were still in danger.
It took police and officials with the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms several hours to determine the bomb was a fake. Inside the car, police recovered the clown costume, two loaded handguns, a large amount of money and the phony explosive, which was fashioned from a can of soup and bagged rice. Assistant District Attorney Patricia Mulqueen said she will seek the maximum prison term of 20 years.