Peoria County Jail Frequent Flyer – Willie York

Buckle in as this is a long post and one that will bring back a lot of memoirs of what seems like a simpler time.

This frequent flyer .. 118 arrests in 31 years! The man, the legend WILLIAM LEE YORK aka Willie. Willie goes down in history as the most famous and unusual homeless man in Peoria. I grew up (pre-internet, shit i’m old) knowing who he was and I would occasionally be seeing him around town. It was almost like spotting Santa as a kid since you knew of him but never saw him. When you did see him he was always dressed in very odd clothing and painted faces and homemade jewellery. Willie even had his own calendar at one point ……. what other homeless man an claim the same?

Most of his crimes were harmless and I was always told he did them to get out of the cold in the winter. Maybe this was true maybe not but it definitely added to his mystique. I did read he once spent one 21-month stint in federal prison for throwing an unlit Molotov cocktail at the Peoria Federal Courthouse. Was it right? No, but I am sure we all wanted to do similar at one point or another.

Willie sadly passed away in January of 2019 but his memory will live on forever.

Some famous images of Willie. Check the end of this post to see some more links to read more about Willie.

If you have any requests or know of person to report on, please let me know! Reach out to me on social media (badpeoria everything), my contact page, or via email at badpeoria@gmail.com

Want to see more Frequent Flyers? Then Click HERE

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Interested in reading more about Willie? Check out the links below.

Want to see more Frequent Flyers? Then Click HERE

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