Mid MIchigan bank robberies are up

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longtime member
Dec 18, 2002
Oakland County, MI
Robbers hitting mid-Michigan banks every 12 days

Posted by LaNia Coleman | The Saginaw News March 13, 2008 08:00AM
Categories: Top Stories, police news

Bank robbers are keeping police and federal agents pretty busy this year.
As of Wednesday, when a gunman held up the Chemical Bank at 2106 N. Saginaw in Midland, crooks had racked up six heists in 2008 in Saginaw County and certain surrounding jurisdictions.

That's one every 12 days, an alarming rate when compared with the nine total that occurred in 2007 and the five total in 2006.

The increase isn't unique to the Saginaw Valley.

FBI numbers show a nationwide increase to 7,272 bank robberies in 2006 -- the last year for which complete records are available -- up slightly from 6,957 in 2005. In 2006, thieves made off with more than $70 million worth of cash, checks and other property. Police recovered $11.2 million of that.

The latest holdup

About 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, a white man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, gray sweat pants and a dark blue Wayne State basketball jacket revealed a black handgun and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the Chemical Bank branch.

The thief disappeared into a wooded area behind the bank, police said. The culprit may have fled in a gray car, police said.

The holdup was the second robbery at the branch this year and the third this year at mid-Michigan Chemical Banks.

Motivating factors

Bank robberies don't hinge on any one contributing factor, though the events seem to occur in spurts.

"It could be anything from having to put food on the table to having to get drugs in their system or needing more money in their pocket because they have a gambling problem," said Midland Police Lt. Greg Kramer. "It could be myriad things. There are any number of reasons why people think they need money so badly and they're desperate enough to rob a bank. You can't attribute it to any one thing."

Citing fluctuations in the economy as an excuse for the rise and fall of bank robbery statistics doesn't hold water, officials said.

"There's no rhyme or reason for why the numbers go at certain times," said state police Sgt. Jerry Fowler of the Bridgeport Post. "Whether it's for drugs or gambling or some other reason, there is never a good excuse for a robbery."

Bank robbers rarely were pillars of society before they pulled their first holdup.

"It's usually the thugs who are in trouble all the time anyway," Fowler said.

Modus operandi

Perhaps the "how" of the crime is more important to understand than the "why."

Most often -- 4,000 times nationally in 2006 -- the bandits simply slip holdup notes to tellers, FBI reports indicate. Crooks brandished firearms in 1,855 of the 2006 holdups.

Violence, the FBI reports, occurs in only about 4.5 percent of bank heists. Of the 13 total deaths in 2006, 10 of the dead were the criminals.

But whether the crook is acting covertly or causing a commotion, he or she is still dangerous, Kramer said.

"That's the way you have to look at it," he said. "Whether they just hand the teller a note or they do it Dillinger-style, there is a potential for danger."

Kramer was referring to John H. Dillinger, a Depression-era gangster and killer known for his flamboyant style that included leaping over counters.

"You have to be smart, keep your eyes open and do what it takes to stay safe," Kramer said.

Prime time for bank robberies is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays, edging out 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, the FBI reports.

Metropolitan branches of commercial banks are the most likely targets.

More mid-Michigan heists

Here's a look at other 2008 bank robberies in the Saginaw Valley.

• Feb. 25, Bay City -- A gunman and two accomplices robbed Chemical Bank's West Side branch.

• Feb. 12, Ashley -- The offender hurdled the teller counter and grabbed the loot from the cash drawers before he skedaddled out the back door of Firstbank.

It was the second robbery in less than three months at the branch in the small southeastern Gratiot County outpost.

The holdup seemed familiar to police who investigated a Nov. 27 robbery at the same bank. Both occurred on Tuesday mornings, the crooks had similar descriptions and both robbers vaulted over the counter without showing or indicating weapons. Each time, the crook concealed his identity behind a ski mask.

State police from the Ithaca Post stopped short of confirming that the same man committed the crimes.

• Feb. 11, Midland -- A masked gunman pulled a 1:15 p.m. hold-up at LaSalle Bank, 1000 S. Saginaw, that sent nearby schools into lockdown. The thief brandished a handgun.

• Jan. 28, Saginaw -- Police followed footprints in the snow to arrest a man suspected of robbing the Citizens Bank at 829 Gratiot. Brady L. Williams III, a 23-year-old single father of two, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment two days later. Williams' case is pending.

• Jan. 26, Midland -- A bandit flashed a pistol at the Chemical Bank at 2106 N. Saginaw and walked out with a wad of cash


Premium Subscriber
Sep 20, 2006
Not surprising, considering the high rate of unemployment, drastic reduction in wages. Add to that all the cutbacks in law enforcement. I can't wait until summer! :confused:
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