Wheeling residents William Carman and Brenda Wilhelm allegedly staged a robbery Wednesday at the Ohio County bar where Wilhelm works, but the plan was thwarted when a Department of Natural Resources officer spotted toilet paper covering the license plates on the getaway car.
Sheriff Pat Butler said Wilhelm, 39, sent a text message to Carman, 26, informing him that she was alone at Bernie's Bar in Clearview. Wilhelm arrived a short time later and the pair acted out the robbery scenario for the business' cameras, he said.
"He burst in through the back door, put a gun to her head and pushed her to the ground to make it look like it was a robbery," Butler said of the incident, which was captured on video.
Wilhelm subsequently called 911 and reported a robbery and sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the scene about 9:45 p.m.
A DNR officer in the area, however, noticed the toilet paper that was covering the license plates of Carman's Buick sedan. The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop when Carman sped away.
The pursuit reportedly continued into Warwood and reached speeds of more than 110 mph. Carman allegedly abandoned his vehicle in front of his Vance Avenue home and fled on foot. Following a foot chase, Wheeling police officers eventually cornered Carman in the area of North 23rd Street and Warwood Avenue, took him into custody and handed him over to sheriff's deputies.
Butler said deputies recovered $1,500, a BB gun and dark-colored clothing in Carman's vehicle. Wilhelm reportedly confessed to her involvement in the crime after deputies discovered the text messages she sent to Carman earlier in the evening.
Magistrate Patricia Murphy arraigned Carman Thursday on charges of entering without breaking, grand larceny, conspiracy to commit grand larceny and felony fleeing.
Wilhelm was charged with grand larceny and conspiracy to commit grand larceny.
As of late Thursday, Carman and Wilhelm remained lodged in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville in lieu of $100,000 and $50,000 bonds, respectively.
Butler said if it was not for the DNR officer, his department may still be searching for Carman.