A bank robber on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted...

ANTIOCH, Calif. -- A bank robber on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list was captured Thursday by agents who surrounded a laundromat where he was meeting with two cohorts to plot another heist, authorities said.

Joseph W. Dougherty, 47, had eluded the FBI since he and bank robbery partner Terry L. Conner hid razor blades in their mouths, then used them to escape federal prison custody June 19, 1985, in El Reno, Okla. Conner was captured this month in Arlington Heights, Ill.


Arrested with Dougherty were Robert B. Butcher, 43, and William F. Crouch, 56, of Concord, Calif., FBI Agent Richard Held said.

They were accused of conspiracy to rob a Bank of America branch in Antioch. The robbery had not taken place, and Held would not comment on how the FBI learned of the plot.

Dougherty, of Philadelphia, was scheduled for arraignment in federal court Friday.

Agents had been trailing Butcher since Dec. 10 in the hope that he would lead them to Dougherty but it was a surprise to everyone, including Butcher, when Dougherty appeared in Antioch, Held said.

'Butcher was just expecting to get a phone call from Dougherty at the laundromat,' Held said.


FBI Agents with shotguns surrounded the laundromat, then arrested the trio without incident. None of the men was carrying a weapon. An unidentified woman and child in Dougherty's car fled before agents could stop them, Held said.

When Conner and Dougherty escaped in Oklahoma, they hid razor blades in their mouths, then used them to force marshals to free them during their transport between El Reno and U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, authorities said.

The two men were considered dangerous because they took bank officials hostage to guarantee the success of their robberies, Held said.

In some instances they abducted bank officials in their homes and held them and their families overnight before heading for the bank.

Both men began robbing banks again almost immediately after their escapes, Held said.

Held said they are suspected of two bank robberies in St. Louis, July 12 and July 26, 1985. They allegedly got $35,000 in the two holdups.

On Sept. 2, 1985, they allegedly took a bank official in Alice, Wis., hostage and robbed the bank of $574,000.

On July 1, 1986, they were suspected of kidnapping an official and taking $225,000 from a bank in Hazel Dell, Wash.

Agents in Phoenix, Ariz., said Dougherty also is wanted for a kidnap-hostage-robbery in November 1983.


Latest Headlines