Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Zanesville man gets 2 decades for car theft spree
A 27-year-old Zanesville man who led local law enforcement on a dangerous pursuit during a spree of car thefts received prison time Monday in common pleas court.
Shawn Williamson was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crimes he committed between late March and early April.
Throughout that one week span, Williamson stole four vehicles while evading police and causing fear within the neighborhoods where he sought refuge from capture.
The Zanesville Police Department took the first report for a stolen Pontiac G6 from Dryden Avenue on Feb. 23.
Days later, the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that Williamson was driving that vehicle toward Duncan Falls.
Deputies located Williamson briefly before he fled and abandoned the vehicle in an alley in Philo.
A search began for Williamson as Philo residents reported sightings.
In early March Williamson became a suspect in a vehicle theft in Zanesville when a Subaru Outback was stolen.
Detective Sergeant Brady Hittle of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office and Detective Sergeant Phil Michel of the Zanesville Police Department coordinated to search for Williamson.
Hittle spotted a red Mercedes Benz driving at a high rate of speed near Sharon Avenue. Hittle identified the driver as Williamson and attempted a traffic stop, but Williamson again fled with speeds reaching over 120 miles per hour, putting numerous motorists at risk.
Other officers from the sheriff’s office joined the pursuit as they entered Duncan Falls but soon lost Williamson when he drove through private property and ramped the car into a creek and took off on foot.
When deputies neared the suspect, Williamson pulled out a handgun from his waistband and held it to his head. Deputies, despite the defendant having a firearm and acting erratically, attempted to de-escalate the situation to avoid using deadly force.
As deputies tried to get Williamson to drop the gun, he trespassed onto another property and stole a truck.
A deputy blocked Williamson’s escape route, sending him back into the woods where he got the truck stuck and took off once more on foot.
Law enforcement, including an aviation unit with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, searched the area for hours but were unable to locate Williamson.
Later, deputies learned of a man matching Williamson’s description knocking on doors asking for water and a ride. Deputies, OSP aviation and a K9 unit converged on the area and located Williamson. He was taken into custody by the K9 unit and treated at Genesis for his K9 bite and exhaustion.
Williamson pleaded guilty to:
F2 Robbery with firearm and repeat violent offender specifications
F2 Burglary with a repeat violent offender specification
F3 Failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer
F3 Having weapons while under disability
F4 Grand theft of a motor vehicle
F4 Grand theft of a motor vehicle
F4 Trespass in a habitation
F5 Obstructing official business with a firearm specification
“The persistence and bravery of law enforcement in pursuing Shawn Williamson during his crimes means that our community will be protected from his criminal behavior for 20 years,” Prosecutor Ron Welch said. “We are fortunate to live in a community where criminal actions result in severe punishments.”
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