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Bank robber wields fake bomb, nabs cash


February 23, 2011 - By Laura Colvin

Review editor

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Officers gather outside while the freshly arrived bomb squad investigates the “suspicious device.” Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
A 40-year-old man who allegedly used a fake explosive device to rob an Orion Township bank got away with an undisclosed amount of cash earlier this week, but his freedom was short lived.

That's the word from Det. Jeff DeVita of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office Orion Township substation, who said the suspect, an Oakland Township resident with no prior criminal history, entered the Kroger grocery store at 640 N. Lapeer Road at about 2:10 p.m. Monday, walked into the Charter One Bank located inside and placed a "suspicious device" on the counter.

The man then allegedly told the teller the device was a bomb and demanded money.

After the teller handed over what DeVita called an "undisclosed amount" of cash, the man fled the scene, but a bank employee recognized and identified the suspect, and he was picked up about two-and-a-half hours later near Perry and Kenilworth streets in Pontiac.

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Deputies, who were able to recover the stolen cash, transported him to the Orion substation for interview. He was then lodged at Oakland County Jail pending a warrant.Police declined to release the man's name prior to his arraignment.

Meanwhile, the store was evacuated and Michigan State Police Bomb Squad agents, along with FBI and detectives from the OCSO Crime Lab were on the scene for several hours while the store and bank remained closed.

"We determined he used a florescent ballast light wrapped on the ends with blue painter's tape to make it look like a bomb," said DeVita, who's investigating the case.

Bomb Squad agents turned the device over to OCSO detectives after determining it was not explosive.

A warrant was expected from the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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