Crime & Courts

Wichita man who left prints on potato chip bag sentenced for gas station hold up

A Wichita man was ordered Tuesday to serve seven years in federal prison for robbing a local QuikTrip last year, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release.

Willie Smith, 39, pleaded guilty in June to robbing the QuikTrip at 1532 S. Seneca on Oct. 16, 2018. He admitted to showing the clerk what appeared to be a revolver and demanding money during the holdup.

Police have said Smith robbed the store after his debit card was declined. He got away with less than $100 cash and two pack of Newport cigarettes. The robbery was his third since he was paroled from prison about a week prior, records show.

Smith also robbed the Express Mart at 565 S. Market on Oct. 14 and Pete’s Liquor at 332 W. Harry on Oct. 15 of last year, according to the news release and court records.

In each of those robberies, he showed employees what appeared to be a revolver, McAllister said.

He also left clues linking him to the crimes: fingerprints on a potato chip bag at the QuikTrip and on a soda cooler at the Express Mart, according to court records.

Authorities arrested Smith after a SWAT standoff. When investigators searched his apartment, they found a black BB gun thought to be used in the three robberies, McAllister said.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.