Turning in Dad
Garrett called their other brother, Clay, 36, and the three met at the fire station where both Clay and Garrett are volunteers. “We were in shock,” says Garrett. They were also decisive: They knew they had to turn their father in. “We were simply thinking he… could be at a bank with a gun and could shoot somebody or get shot himself,” says Garrett. The issue, says Clay, “was crime and danger. The rest of it we knew we'd have to deal with later.”
The brothers drove to William's Lewistown home, which he shared with their mother, Donna, his wife of 43 years. No one was there, so they called the police. The next morning, William was arrested—and the Ginglen family got another profound shock. Searching the home, police seized a meticulous journal (see box) that cops say detailed an affair with Teri Fluke, the robberies—and a crack cocaine addiction that cost William up to $800 a week. He used the stolen money—plus thousands given to him by his sons and others—to support his secret life. “This,” says Jared, “was a double punch in the gut.”
For most of his life, William, 64, was a community pillar. Born in Lewistown, he joined the Marines, then married Donna, his high school sweetheart. He launched a successful career in management and became president of the local Jaycees, a member of the chamber of commerce and an auxiliary police officer. “I have vivid memories of being a young boy and having manners lessons,” says Garrett. William was also a stickler for obeying the law. “He always said, ‘If you get in trouble with the law, hope they get to you before I do,’” says Clay. “[It's] kind of ironic.”
William's downward spiral began in the late 1990s. A manager at International Harvester for 20 years, he left that job in 1980 and later found it hard to land similar high-paying positions. William found a position at Textron, a manufacturing plant near Champaign, where he met Fluke, 47, who worked in a dentist's office. According to his journal, they began seeing each other about eight years ago. He left that job and soon after lost another at Maytag. He told his family he had a job collecting receipts for video poker machines around Illinois, so he was often gone for days at a time. In fact, the nonexistent job enabled him to spend more time with Fluke—police say she was unaware of the crime spree and have not charged her. He also indulged in days-long drug binges.
William began his crime spree on Nov. 10, 2003, when he stole $9,397 from a bank in Kenney. Over the next seven months, he hit five more banks, stealing $40,000 more. On July 12, 2004, he returned to the Kenney bank, snatching another $6,522—but was videotaped by the higher-resolution cameras management had installed after the first attack. The DeWitt County Sheriff put the photos on the Internet and asked newspapers to promote the Web site—an article Jared read days later.
Since the family's awful discovery, Donna divorced him, and his daughter, Kim McFadden, 43, and sons have barely spoken to him. When William was sentenced Dec. 29 to 40 years in prison for seven bank robberies and using a firearm in connection with a violent crime, only Jared attended. “My poor mother, just to do that to her,” he says. “I lost my father. There is a man in prison, but he's not my father.” Speaking at his sentencing, William, through tears, could only muster these words: “I'd just like to apologize to everyone.”
Forgiveness seems to be long coming, at least from his sons. Clay, a middle school teacher, struggles to explain what happened to his own children. Before a recent TV appearance, his 8-year-old daughter wanted to know why he was going on television. “I said I was going to try to tell people what it's like to do the right thing even when it's one of the hardest things to do,” he says. “And she said, ‘I know why. Because of Grandpa.’ And I said, ‘Yeah…’” Recounting the story, he started to cry.