Former Bar Worker Gets Probation in Robbery Plot

A judge sentenced Brenda Wilhelm to two years of probation for staging a robbery with her then-boyfriend at the Clearview bar she was working at in May.

Wilhelm, 40, of Wheeling pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of conspiracy to commit grand larceny prior to sentencing by Ohio County Circuit Judge David Sims.

Wilhelm and William Carman staged a robbery May 9 while Wilhelm was working at Bernie’s Bar, but the plan was thwarted when a state Department of Natural Resources officer spotted toilet paper covering the license plates on the getaway car. According to court documents, Wilhelm sent a text message to Carman, informing him she was alone at the bar. Carman arrived a short time later, and the pair acted out the robbery scenario for the business’ cameras.

Video surveillance reportedly shows Carman, wearing a mask and wielding what was later determined to be a BB gun, push Wilhelm to the ground and raid the cash register. Wilhelm subsequently called 911 and reported a robbery. Ohio County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the scene about 9:45 p.m.

A DNR officer in the area, however, noticed that toilet paper was covering the license plates of Carman’s Buick sedan. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop when Carman sped away.

The pursuit continued into Warwood and reached speeds around 100 mph.

Carman eventually abandoned his vehicle and, following a foot chase, was taken into custody by Wheeling police.

Carman, 26, pleaded guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to commit grand larceny and fleeing. He was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison.

While being interviewed by an Ohio County sheriff’s deputy the night of the crime, Wilhelm reportedly kept scrolling through her cell phone. When the deputy asked Wilhelm to hand it over, he discovered a text message that read “alone” was sent to Carman shortly prior to the robbery ruse.

Wilhelm’s attorney, Elgin McCardle, reportedly requested that the media be barred from Tuesday’s hearing and that Wilhelm’s criminal file be sealed subsequent to her conviction. Sims denied both of those requests.