Man charged in TCF holdup was on parole after serving time for bank robbery
Courtesy of WCSO
A 50-year-old man accused of robbing the TCF Bank in Ypsilanti Township over the weekend was out on parole for four bank robberies committed in 2003, state prison records indicate.
John Joseph Sawaya, of Ypsilanti, was arraigned in the 14A-1 District Court by Magistrate Thomas Truesdell Tuesday on one count each of armed robbery and bank robbery.
Sawaya was appointed a public defender and denied any bond, according to court records. State prison records show Sawaya was currently on parole after serving just under 10 years on four counts of bank robbery. He was released from prison in August 2010 and was scheduled to be on parole until August 2013.
Police said Sawaya, dressed in a shirt and tie, walked into the TCF Bank at 2150 Packard Road at the corner of Hewitt in Ypsilanti Township about 2:25 p.m. Saturday and implied that he had a weapon and fled with money.
Even though police don't think Sawaya had a weapon, implying that he did is enough for an armed robbery charge.
“As long as you imply a weapon and the person being robbed is in fear that there is a weapon, then that counts,” said Sgt. Geoff Fox with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.
The next morning, an Ypsilanti police officer recognized Sawaya from the bank surveillance pictures and arrested him on Towner Street, according to the sheriff's office. Police said some of the money stolen from the bank was recovered during the arrest.