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February 1, 2013

Serial bank robber hits Charter One in Berkley

By Jeremy Selweski
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
The man who robbed the Charter One Bank in Berkley Jan. 28 can be seen pointing a gun at a teller in this surveillance footage.
Police believe the same man was behind a number of other bank robberies, including the PNC Bank in Royal Oak Dec. 26, where he can be seen here taking money from a teller.
 

A man who robbed a Berkley bank at gunpoint earlier this week is suspected of similar armed robberies at banks in Royal Oak and Madison Heights.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Detroit division, local police and the FBI are seeking tips from the public about the suspect, who is believed to have robbed five banks and one convenience store in southeast Oakland County over the last several weeks.

The most recent robbery occurred at the Charter One Bank at 27897 Woodward Ave. in Berkley shortly after 10 a.m. Jan. 28, according to Deputy Public Safety Director Bob North. The suspect entered the bank dressed in black from head to toe with a mask covering his face. He made threats against bank customers and employees, then approached one of the tellers and demanded money.

“He had a small, dark-colored pistol that he pointed at the teller,” North said. “He was able to get out of there with about $6,000 in cash.”

Berkley public safety was assisted by officers from Royal Oak, Huntington Woods and Southfield in their pursuit of the suspect, who fled the scene on foot.

“Southfield brought their tracking dog over to help us search the surrounding neighborhood, but we were unable to locate him,” North said. “He escaped running northbound behind the NorthPointe medical building (at 27901 Woodward Ave.). That’s where anyone last saw him.”

No getaway vehicle was spotted at the scene, North added.

Witnesses described the suspect as a black male with a light complexion, approximately 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, with a medium build. During the robbery, he wore tight black pants, a black coat, black gloves, a black ski mask and a black hat with a small brim. He also carried a black bag and a small black handgun.

According to the FBI, the suspect is believed to have committed similar armed robberies at the PNC Bank at 28841 John R Road in Madison Heights Dec. 20, the PNC Bank at 225 S. Main St. in Royal Oak Dec. 26, and the Charter One Bank at 200 S. Main St. in Royal Oak Jan. 15. In addition, he is suspected of robbing the 7-Eleven store at 815 W. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights Dec. 18.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Berkley public safety at (248) 658-3380, the FBI’s Detroit division at (313) 965-2323, or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) SPEAK-UP. There is a $2,500 cash reward being offered for any information that leads to the bank robber’s arrest.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jeremy Selweski at jSelweski@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5004.