Bank robbery suspect has prior convictions

Robberies of the WesBanco Bank facilities on Wheeling Island and in St. Clairsville on Saturday are not William McBride Jr.’s first bank heists.

Ohio authorities arrested McBride, 49, of Columbus, in the Columbus area after tellers from each bank identified a photo of McBride as the man who robbed both banks. Police generated the photo based on an Ohio license plate number provided by bank employees who saw McBride driving away after the St. Clairsville robbery.

Wheeling Police Deputy Chief Martin Kimball said the Wheeling Island WesBanco was robbed at gunpoint at 11:16 a.m. by a man described as a white male wearing blue jeans, grey T-shirt, red ball cap and glasses who fled on foot.

Police Sgt. Gregg McKenzie said McBride fled to an area at the rear of the bank, where he apparently had parked his car.

A criminal complaint states Wheeling police responding to a robbery alarm learned the man pulled out a dark-colored revolver and placed it the counter.

“The teller stated that the individual told her to give him all the money but just wanted large bills,” the complaint states. “The teller told him that there was a problem with the machine and showed him the money in the drawer. The individual stated that he just wanted the twenty dollar bills. The teller gave him the money and he left on foot.”

While on scene at the Wheeling bank, police learned the St. Clairsville bank had been robbed and employees were able to get the license plate number.

McKenzie said McBride, who is charged with first degree robbery, has had four prior convictions for bank robbery.

Also involved in the investigation are the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia State Police, Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, Bridgeport and Martins Ferry police departments, Wheeling Fire Department and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

The Wheeling Island branch has been robbed several times during the past 15 years. At one point to try and add a layer of protection or as a deterrent, bank officials had a buzzer installed that requires people to push it before being allowed in.

A sign on the building states, “For lobby entrance please press the intercom button. Employees may ask that you remove items that may conceal your face.”