June 22, 2017
Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help tracking down a man who escaped from a prison work camp in Arkansas earlier this week, who has direct ties to Lee County.
On Tuesday, June 20, Robert Woodward (DOB 1/8/71) escaped from the Arkansas Department of Corrections, while working with fellow inmates mowing near a cornfield in Dermott, Arkansas. Authorities believe he stole a white 2013 Ford F-250 hauling a green John Deere tractor from a nearby gas station. The truck has an Arkansas license plate bearing the numbers 764UZM.
Woodward was arrested in January in Arkansas for fleeing and eluding police. He is wanted in as many as five states and currently has three active felony warrants in Lee County for grand theft. While living in Fort Myers, Woodward was operating under the alias of “Donnie Williams” and scammed numerous local residents out of cash and cars. Before his escape on Tuesday, he was serving a 96 month sentence in Arkansas for charges there, and would have eventually been extradited back to Lee County to face his local charges. Woodward was also on the queue for extradition to other states for crimes including escape, assault with a weapon and assault on a law enforcement officer, among others.
“Woodward has a history of moving around, and now that he’s on the lam again, he may resort to places that he is familiar with, in order to hide from law enforcement,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator. “Since he spent a good amount of time in Southwest Florida, there is a possibility that he may seek refuge here.”
Since his scamming days in Lee County, Woodward has changed a bit in appearance, now sporting a much older look. He is 6’1”, 226 pounds and has a cropped haircut and a graying beard.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Woodward, formerly known as Donnie Williams, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by submitting a tip on the P3Tips mobile app.
Note: A photo of an aging Woodward is attached to this release, provided courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.