Mom gets prison time for plot to rob bank

Son needed money for legal fees

By ROBIN FITZGERALD – rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

GULFPORT

A Gulfport woman will spend two years in prison for helping plan a bank robbery for money to pay her son’s legal fees, Assistant District Attorney George Huffman said.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark sentenced 38-year-old Wilma W. Bridges on Tuesday, giving her five years and suspending three, leaving two to serve.

Her son, Willie Lewis Bridges, had been named one of South Mississippi’s “most wanted” criminal suspects in a Sun Herald series a few months before the foiled bank heist Sept. 8, 2008. He was wanted in the armed robbery of a Long Beach woman he allegedly followed home from a bank in February 2008.

Authorities arrested the mother and son, and a third person, after Wilma Bridges’ sister told the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department of a scheme to rob a bank, Huffman said.

After the three were arrested, sheriff’s officials said they’d believed the trio had been planning to rob a bank in the county — but detectives followed them to a bank in downtown Gulfport and called Gulfport police for assistance. Detectives had them under surveillance and saw Willie Bridges, wearing a T-shirt of one color, also put on a T-shirt of a different color in a bank parking lot, Huffman said. Authorities believe he was prepared to change his shirt to help conceal his identity, Huffman said.

Detectives prevented the holdup and took all three into custody, the prosecutor said.

At the time, Willie Bridges, 22, was out of prison on appeal of an armed robbery conviction in the December 2003 holdup of the Game Xchange in Gulfport.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/06/22/2280529/mom-gets-prison-time-for-plot.html#ixzz0rgK6VQwc

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