An Arkansas fugitive with numerous outstanding warrants may spend up to nine years in prison on local charges after his conviction in McDowell County District Court.
Robert Eugene Woodward, 47, listed from Union Road, Gastonia, was found guilty of three counts of obtaining property under false pretense. For each count, he was sentenced to 20 to 36 months in prison, each to run consecutive to one another. He must pay $2,170 combined restitution to the victims. He must pay court costs.
This sentence runs consecutive to a Durham County Superior Court decision in Jan. 18, in which Woodward was found guilty of two counts of obtaining property under false pretense and sentenced to 20 to 33 months in prison.
Woodward, 46, escaped from the Delta Regional Unit, located in Dermott, Arkansas, late last June. Woodward was an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, serving a prison sentence after being convicted of being a habitual offender. Woodward was considered armed and dangerous, due to his extensive criminal history spreading throughout several states.
In North Carolina, Woodward was wanted for approximately 34 felony warrants in Gaston, Cleveland, Catawba, McDowell, Yancey, Mecklenburg and Haywood counties. Among local charges in McDowell, Woodward had outstanding warrants dating back to July 2014, in which he was accused of using a fake ID to obtain construction equipment – including an excavator, a Hudson trailer and a multi-terrain loader – from Appalachian Rentals in Marion and Dennis Fender of Old Fort, according to arrest warrants.
At the time of his escape, the Arkansas Department of Corrections requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service, in the Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force, with Woodward’s apprehension. As the investigation continued, there were numerous leads sent out to various law enforcement agencies, throughout the southeastern U.S., in attempts to locate Woodward.
The Violent Offender Task Force in western North Carolina was contacted by the Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force, after information was developed, indicating that Woodward was in western North Carolina. Based on the information provided by the Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force, a stolen vehicle connected to Woodward was located, displaying a stolen license plate, from South Carolina, in the parking lot of the Quality Inn, in Flat Rock. Upon further investigation, it was found that Woodward was staying in room 115, at the hotel, while using an alias. Woodward was arrested in mid-Sept. 2017 after members of the Violent Offender Task Force, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and Hendersonville Police Department observed Woodward attempting to leave the hotel. Woodward was transported to and confined in the Henderson County Jail, pending court proceedings.
During the evening of Woodward’s arrest, several local and state agencies in North Carolina, including the NC Department of Public Safety, Hendersonville Police Department, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Morganton Department of Public Safety, and the NC Highway Patrol, participated in the investigation.