Suspected serial bank robber in custody, police say

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Royal Oak Review | Published April 10, 2013

ROYAL OAK — They just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

That’s what Lt. Dave Clemens said about how Royal Oak police were able to catch the person they suspect robbed more than seven banks in the metro Detroit area during the past few months.

At around 12:41 p.m. April 10, Royal Oak police officers responded to an armed robbery taking place at TCF Bank, located at 1811 Crooks Road. Clemens said police were notified of the robbery by a 911 call.

According to a statement released by the Royal Oak Police Department, a bank employee said that the robber entered the building with a handgun and demanded money from a teller.

Officers, who happened to be near the location, according to Clemens, saw the man fleeing the bank on foot. Officers chased the suspect to a vehicle parked at a nearby business. He entered the vehicle and fled the scene, starting a chase.

The pursuit continued through several more cities before it ended with the suspect allegedly striking a Southfield patrol car on 11 Mile Road, west of Greenfield. Beverly Hills, Berkley and Southfield officers assisted in the subject’s arrest.

“One of our officers was in his car while it was struck by the suspect,” said Lt. Nick Loussia, of the Southfield Police Department. “He only had minor injuries but was taken to the hospital, just as a precaution.”

According to the police statement, they believe that the suspect, 49-year-old Derrick Dwayne Sebree, of Madison Heights, is the same individual involved with similar bank robberies in the area, including the Feb. 8 robbery of Comerica Bank on West Maple Road in Birmingham. The robber, known for his signature black clothing and ski mask, got away with $9,000 that day. The so-called “serial robber” is accused of robberies in Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Berkley and Beverly Hills. The first robbery in the suspect’s alleged crime spree occurred Dec. 20. According to the complainant report from U.S. District Court, the gun Sebree allegedly used was determined to be plastic.

Sebree is charged with eight counts of bank robbery. He is currently being held without bond until a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 14 in U.S. District Court. Sebree’s attorney, David Tholen, could not be reached for comment by press time.

C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan contributed to this report.