A man accused of robbing banks, liquor stores and other businesses in both Texarkanas in 2017 pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of bank robbery.
Troy Lee Ware, 66, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven for a plea hearing with Texarkana attorney Josh Potter. Ware pleaded guilty to one count listed in an eight-count indictment filed earlier this year in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
Ware has been in the Miller County jail since January 2018 on state charges for armed robberies allegedly committed in Texarkana, Ark., in 2017.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble said Ware’s plea agreement includes 15 years in federal prison, restitution to multiple victims totaling nearly $25,000, and forfeiture of a revolver and ammunition.
Investigators for both Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Ark., police departments were engaged in a months-long search for the man who robbed banks and other businesses at gunpoint while wearing gloves, a toboggan with eye holes cut out and sneakers. Ware, who operated a small used car dealership on 9th Street in Texarkana, Ark., had access to a number of different cars which he allegedly drove during the commission of at least some of the robberies, according to search warrant affidavits.
Investigators carefully observed the mannerisms of the robber in video surveillance footage and later noticed that Ware moved the same way as the robber. A toboggan with holes cut for eyes was dropped at the scene of one of the hold-ups. While there were no hairs found in the cap, a DNA sample which allegedly is a match to Ware was found.
Since his arrest, detectives have acquired warrants for Ware’s cell phone records. The records show that Ware turned his phone off before the robberies, presumably to conceal location, and the phone was in the area of some of the robberies shortly before they occurred.
Ware’s federal indictment alleges he committed four robberies of Texas-side businesses in 2017 including a Wells Fargo bank branch, the Potato Patch restaurant on State Line Avenue, the Tobacco Store on New Boston Road and the Shamrock gas station on Richmond Road. Four additional counts accuse Ware of brandishing a firearm during the commission of a robbery.
Ware pleaded guilty Tuesday to the bank robbery. The other charges are expected to be dismissed by the court at sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III in the next several months.
The Miller County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed charges in February 2018 including seven counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. Tommy Potter, Ware’s attorney in the Miller County case, said he expects the state charges to be dropped after Ware is sentenced in the federal case.