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Posted on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Police offer $5,000 reward in 1 of 2 bank robberies

By Lee Higgins


Ann Arbor police released this surveillance photo of a suspect after the robbery of a bank at 3250 Washtenaw Avenue.

Ann Arbor police announced a $5,000 reward this afternoon for information leading to the arrest of the man responsible for robbing a PNC bank branch on Washtenaw Avenue in the first of two bank robberies in Washtenaw County this morning.

Investigators also released surveillance photographs of the man they said walked into the Ann Arbor bank at 9:56 a.m., implied he had a weapon and passed a note to a teller, demanding money. The man fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and may have left the area in a blue or gray Pontiac Grand Prix or Grand Am.

The man is described as black, in his mid-30s, 5 feet, 9 inches to 5 feet, 11 inches tall, with dreadlocks and a ponytail. He was wearing a purple or black shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. Detectives said they have no reason to believe the robbery is related to a robbery reported 20 minutes later at Bank of America at 2250 West Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township.

In that case, 3 people entered the bank and jumped the counter, taking money, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department spokesman Derrick Jackson said. The robbers then went into the vault and took more money, Jackson said. They were wearing masks and gloves, he said. None showed any weapons, he said.


Police investigate following a bank robbery this morning at a Bank of America branch at 2250 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti Township.

Melanie Maxwell |

Anyone with information on the Ann Arbor robbery can call Det. Bill Stanford at (734) 794-6930, ext. 49318, or the AAPD confidential tip line at (734) 794-6939.

Owners of businesses nearby had mixed feelings about the robbery. Wally Abdulnoor, who owns Falestta’s Market, 2200 Pittsfield Blvd., down the street from PNC Bank, said officers stopped by to ask if workers had seen anything, but they hadn't. “We have to try to be safe and secure and pay attention to do something like that,” Abdulnoor said. “It’s a tough time and everybody’s going for so much, so we have to be careful, that’s all we can say.”

Breanne Sinkule, manager of the Roundtree Bar & Grill, 2203 Ellsworth Road, which is next door to the Bank of America branch robbed about 10:15 a.m. said the robbery is unsettling. “It’s scary to me,” she said “…that someone else is getting robbed next door.” As the restaurant prepared to open at 11 a.m., she saw police cars and wondered what was going on.

Paul Fletcher manages Ace Hardware, 3352 Washtenaw Ave., which is also near PNC Bank, wasn't concerned. “It doesn’t seem to affect anything that goes on. It seems to be the banks. No one here is worried about it,” Fletcher said. “It’s one of those odd things,” he continued. “ I think that people come from out of town to hit banks. You don’t really think it’s something that’s going to impact your business.” reporter Juliana Keeping contributed to this report.


The Cadillac in this photo was used in the Ypsilanti Township bank robbery and abandoned by the suspects nearby. The vehicle had been reported stolen in the early morning hours from Van Buren Township.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department


Jim Knight

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

My previous comment was deleted, but I swear I saw this man and (blue) auto in the Whittaker ( Kroger) parking lot on Saturday!! He fled out the (do not enter) drive. Nothing else to add now!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:37 a.m.

&quot;No one showed any weapons.&quot; -- fine. What if these masked robbers HAD shown - and used - weapons? It's not just a bank robbery, it's an act of desperation and sometimes bravado committed by a stranger or strangers who are NOT to be trusted to just grab and run. The Law can't leave it up to the robbers to &quot;behave themselves&quot; and neither can: customers at banks or at any other commercial establishment. I've been a customer at the same bank since the mid-seventies. I notice- I never see any customers who are aware of who's coming in through the entrance, never see people looking outside while they're standing in line waiting to get to a teller's window. I'm not suggesting we be prepared to do battle with bank robbers. I am suggesting that, if we are aware of our surroundings, we MAY be the one who phones 911 and gets the police on the way a bit sooner. In most of these bank robberies, there were at least a couple of minutes while the robbers were out in the open before they got into the bank. If we are alert (as with other types of crimes) we at least give ourselves a little more edge that may make a big difference in the outcome - for the robbers, the police and ourselves.

Terrin Bell

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:01 a.m.

I doubt anybody commenting here suggesting Michigan has lenient sentencing really has any familiarity with the criminal system. My friend who is a defense attorney has a plague in his office that say, &quot;Georgia the Peach State, Florida the Sunshine State, Michigan the Police State.&quot; Michigan has very harsh sentencing. For armed robbery you can get life in prison even if nobody was killed. Further, Michigan has a mandatory two year sentence that gets added on to any other sentence for any felony committed with a gun. So a person will do two years minimum without even looking at the actual sentence for the crime charged. Recently there was a local story where a guy committed an armed bank robbery in Adrian in 1981. Nobody was killed. He wanted his sentence shortened. It's been almost thirty years. He was sentenced 37 to 75 years. The judge said he must serve at least 37 years.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3 a.m.

Good judge. While this guy has been in prison, he has been unable to rob anyone at gunpoint! He may not have killed anyone, but he certainly hurt many people. If you knew anyone working during an armed robbery, you might change your opinion. A co-worker who had a shotgun jammed in her ear, while being forced to open safes, has never been the same; her family has never been the same. A wife, mother, and community service volunteer who, over ten years later is always on edge and retired early to avoid public exposure. I have no sympathy for armed robbers - their worst crime isn't the robbery, it's the human trauma they cause - they always get off too easily.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

I am thinking...BUSTED!!!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

With all of the money these banks are making it is hard to believe that they don't yet have HD cameras yet and plenty of them. The video of the B of A robbery shows the tops of the heads of the perps. Really? The search is on for a human in a hat, wearing shoes, and a shirt, and a.........GOOD GRIEF! No pity for the banks!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

&quot;A guy who robbed my bank and four others a few years ago before being caught by the FBI got 1 year in jail but the $120,000 he stole from his five bank robberies was never recovered.&quot; This is the problem. If they are caught, it's a slap on the wrist and back in business in 12 months. The money was probably hidden away somewhere with help of friends and family, then recovered upon release. More and more of these bank heists are happening in A2. Banks at the very least need to have a security guard in the lobby at all times. That would stop most of this. Oh, that's right, the cost of the guard would cut into the profits and the CEO's fat salary. So, employees and the public are put into dangerous situations so the CEO can continue to fly around in his private jet.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:56 a.m.

@sallyxyz, Every bank security expert I've talked to in the 23 years I've been head of my banking institution has advised me NOT to have guards (armed or not) in the lobby since evidence from experience indicates that more people (customers, staff and guards) die when robbies occur if there are guards in the lobby of a bank. The IDC independent rating agency tabulated the annual profits of all Banks in Michigan over the past 60 months ended 3/31/2011 (latest available data) and it was MINUS 2.7% per year on average based on shareholder funds, so I'm puzzled by your comment about banks having big profits and we &quot;Community Bank's&quot; certainly don't have any private jets (my &quot;jet&quot; is called &quot;Delta&quot; economy class ;-) I think you are confusing &quot;banks&quot; with &quot;Investment Banks&quot; - on that please see my comment above about the excellent documentary &quot;Inside Job&quot; on @Mark's comment.

Joe Wood

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

If you truly believe what you wrote then you should vote for mister Obama and crush the evil rich CEOs. I do agree with you about the &quot;slap on the wrist.&quot; Ever had a poor person offer you a job?


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Robbers and arsonists will be able to use Ann Arbor as a successful training ground. But it's all good... the mayor is completely comfortable with his 'little experiment'.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

See folks? THIS is how the $100/per fee for excessive auto idling would add up and come into play to assist the department in catching &quot;real&quot; criminals by being able to offer the money rewards for info! People never see the connections, only how it may impact their care free way of life while wasting resources. Ask the future if it matters, it does.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

This one time national city bank robbed me and if after that they want out business :) law suit

John B.

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

Today's topic: It's looking more and more like the early 1930s around these parts.... Think about it. Talk amongst yourselves.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

A guy who robbed my bank and four others a few years ago before being caught by the FBI got 1 year in jail but the $120,000 he stole from his five bank robberies was never recovered. To some, that's good wages and a year of free room and board isn't such a bad exchange for $120,000 tax free. When this criminal then went to jail and shared the news of his good fortune with his colleagues, the number of bank robbers in eastern Washtenaw County multiplied exponentially. Perhaps the question isn't what are the banks and the police going to do (the bank robbers are being caught), but what are the judges going to do to make this a less attractive line of work?? Or, are the voters going to elect judges that treat bank robbery as a serious crime instead of just reelecting every sitting judge with a rubber stamp??? I can tell you that being involved in a robbery is a very traumatic and life changing event for the employees and customers involved. Will it require people not just to be traumatized but also getting killed before our local judges get serious about this problem? How about an analysis from of the sentences for bank robbery being handed down by different judges?


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

I question that a serial bank robber who was charged in federal court only received one year. Typically if the FBI are involved bank robberies investgations, it most commonly prosecuted at the federal level. Which carries much stiffer penalties compared to bank robberies being tried at the state level. Typically the FBI run point on the investigation depending on the nature of the robberies and if the suspect(s) are believe to be involved in multiple bank robberies. Otherwise the local police, county sheriff , or state police investigate the crime. And again bank robbery sentencing can be more lenient at the state level.

Terrin Bell

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

I doubt he was found guilty in Michigan of committing a State Crime. In Michigan if you are found guilty of using a gun to commit another felony (robbery), you get an automatic and mandatory 2 years put on the end of the other sentence. Further, you can get a life sentence in Michigan for armed robbery even if you didn't kill anybody. Life plus two years is pretty strict.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Having witnessed a bank robbery first hand, I'm in complete agreement, it is a life changing this day I will not go into the lobby of a bank


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

Also deeply affects those who are close with the people who work at the banks.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Will the $5k come out of the $150K art fund for the new police building?


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

Wow, with that photo they should have him in custody within the hour. Glad smart people don't rob banks.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

You don't have to be smart to be a bank robber. That's why most of them get caught. If one were smart, he'd work for wall street and legally rob people.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

&quot;Inside Job&quot; should be mandatory viewing.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

&quot;Inside Job&quot; is indeed a good insight and highly recommended as it gets into what makes the market tick and how they can get away with great heists (fleecing of American taxpayers). Of course it digresses a few times to some eye rolling shenanigans but these can be overlooked. More regulation!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

How true! If you haven't seen it yet, go rent the film &quot;Inside Job&quot;, available at any Red Box inside Kroger stores for $1. It won the Oscar Award this year for best documentary.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

I was just saying, if I knew this joker, I would turn him in, not that I wanted the stolen money, I wanted the reward ok....

Kellie Carbone

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

Seriously? I guess the days of disguises are long-gone. If this were a friend or family member of mine, they would be immediately recognizable. It will be interesting to see whether his acquaintances keep quiet.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

A little theatrical make-up can make someone totally unrecognizable.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

Unless they subscribe to the &quot;Snitches Get Stitches&quot; motto.