Authorities offering reward for information leading to arrest of 'respectful robber'
Authorities are offering a $35k reward for information leading to the arrest of the "respectful robber."
Named after his calm demeanor, the man is accused of robbing four banks at gunpoint in four different counties, the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office reports.
"I can't give exact specifics as to what the connection is," said Newaygo County Detective Sergeant Adam Mercer. "We look at not only physical evidence, eye witness/eye testimony, and method of operation."
The first robbery dates back to June 3, 2011 when the Lake-Osceola State Bank in Luther was robbed. The suspect was described as approximately 5'9" in height, weighing 200 pounds and around 30 years of age. The suspect was carrying a black semi-automatic handgun in his right hand. Authorities say he brought three bags into the bank to load the cash.
The second robbery was just three weeks later on June 22, 2011 at the Lake-Osceola State Bank in Wellston. The suspect, who worked alone, is described as approximately 6 feet tall weighing between 180-200 pounds. He was wearing a baseball cap with a "M" logo on it, aviator sunglasses and what was later determined to be a medium-length brown wig.
The suspect carried a black semi-automatic handgun in his right hand. He used a stolen car to commit the robbery and brought three bags in to load the cash. Police also believe an accomplice was involved.
The third robbery took place on November 16 at the Citizens National Bank in Pellston. The robber was described as between 6'0-6'3", slender and between 20-30 years old. The suspect was wearing a puffy coat, a bomber fur hat and aviator sunglasses. He carried a black semi-automatic handgun in his right hand and used a stolen car to commit the robbery. Police believe an accomplice was used.
The fourth robbery was on September 3, 2013 at the Independent Bank in Croton Township of Newaygo County. The suspect was described as approximately 5'10" tall weighing around 180 pounds in his twenties or thirties. The suspect had long brown hair that may have been a wig.
He had a black watch on his left wrist, a black "Gears of War" stocking hat, a folding knife in his right pants pocket and a silver ring on his right hand ring finger.
The suspect carried a black semi-automatic handgun and used a stolen car. Police believe an accomplice was used in this case as well.
According to the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office, the robber has targeted teller drawers as well as bank vaults.
Authorities say the robberies were "well thought-out" and pointed to an "above average" intelligence.
"You could surmise that maybe the person ran out of money each time and that's why they went and did it. The plan that this person or people put into these crimes, they're well thought out," said Mercer.
There are no obvious trends between the robberies, but all were at rural banks, which is a rarity. "The person is targeting the rural banks and are not too far from U.S. 131," said Mercer.
Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office at 231-689-7303, the Emmet County Sheriff's Office at 231-347-2036, the FBI's Traverse City Office at 231-946-7201 or the Newaygo County Silent Observer at 231-652-1121.
A $35,000 reward is available for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible.
"That is how this is going to get solved. Somebody may call in a tip and say, 'I think I know who that is.' We're asking for that help from the public," said Mercer.
Police are also urging banks, especially those in rural communities, to increase security measure and decrease the amount of cash readily available.