On April 29, 2019 the Joplin Police Department received a report of a robbery that had occurred in our city. The victim was home and answered his door to a stranger after repeated knocking. The male who was at his door asked for a ride and the victim gave him a ride to a local gas station and then a bank. The suspect at one point displayed a knife and coerced the victim to make a total of 4 ATM withdrawals at the 2 locations and give the money to the suspect. After the last withdrawal the suspect left in a second vehicle that they had met up with at the first location, and then followed them to the second location.
After the incident was reported, the Joplin Police Department took 3 more reports with different victims of similar circumstances. The four reports were linked by similar suspect description, area of town and other similar circumstances.
As detectives investigated the cases, they developed a suspect who was found to already have an outstanding Jasper County Warrant for Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Later that day, on May 6, 2019 at approximately 4pm a Joplin Police Officer located the suspect during a traffic stop at Main and Murphy Blvd and he was arrested without incident for his warrant.
On May 7, 2019, Detectives submitted charges to the Newton County Prosecutor’s Office for First Degree Robbery. The suspect is identified as Willie J. Spencer, 40, Joplin. The investigation into his involvement in the other cases continues.