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'Oxygen robber' dies in car accident in Maryland, police say

By the CNN Wire Staff
The man who died in a crash after a high-speed chase by police in Maryland was identified as Arthur Williams, 63.
The man who died in a crash after a high-speed chase by police in Maryland was identified as Arthur Williams, 63.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Armed robbery failed in upscale New York clothing store
  • NEW: Alleged robber fled south, robbing two hotels in Maryland
  • NEW: Suspected drunken driver turned out to be NYC robbery suspect
  • NEW: Fatal chase lasted 2 1/2 miles, reaching speeds of 120 mph
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    New York (CNN) -- A man in his 60s attempted an armed robbery in New York City and fled to Maryland, where he allegedly robbed two hotels at gunpoint, led police on a short chase and died when his car left the road and crashed, authorities said Friday.

    The man was identified as a 63-year-old career criminal named Arthur Williams, CNN affiliate WABC reported.

    New York police said Williams tried to rob Sarar, an upscale clothing store on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Saturday evening while carrying a cane and wearing a nasal tube connected to an oxygen tank. The suspect fired three shots before fleeing the scene, police said.

    Early Sunday morning, Maryland State Police were alerted to an armed robbery in Hancock, Maryland, and a second about an hour later in Clear Spring, Maryland. A state trooper on DUI patrol was following a suspected drunken driver when dispatchers broadcast a description of the vehicle driven by the suspected robber. The description matched the vehicle he was following, so he attempted to pull the driver over.

    The chase lasted about 2 1/2 miles and reached a top speed of 120 mph, police said, ending when Williams's car went off the road and hit several fixed objects and a parked car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The New York incident was recorded by a store surveillance camera, according to an advisory issued earlier Friday by the New York Police Department, which was seeking the public's assistance in the hunt for the would-be robber.

    Williams initially appeared to be shopping for clothing after entering the store, according to police. Sol Tezcan, the store manager said the man did not rouse suspicion and calmly asked for a pair of pants to match his jacket.

    Tezcan said that when he turned around looking for pants, the man pulled a gun from his waistband and demanded money from a nearby customer. The gunman fired one shot, missing the customer, who was fleeing the store.

    Tezcan said Williams then turned the gun on him, asking, "You want one?" He fired two shots in Tezcan's direction as he ran toward the back of the store, the manager said.

    "I was not nervous," Tezcan said. "It happened in three seconds."

    Williams fled the scene in a black Cadillac CTS with Alabama license plates, the same car Maryland state police later encountered, according to police.

    CNN's Chris Kokenes contributed to this report.