Police arrest suspect linked to local bank robberies

By: Kayla Dimick, Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published September 5, 2018




ROCHESTER/LATHRUP VILLAGE — A 20-year-old man suspected of robbing two local banks this summer was arrested Aug. 14 by the Oakland County Fugitive Apprehension Team.

Rochester Police Detective Luke Mitchell said officers responded to a holdup alarm at Alliance Catholic Credit Union, 912 N. Main St. in Rochester, at 2:20 p.m. July 23. The suspect — who was caught on security camera footage — passed a teller a note implying that he had a weapon and asking for money. 

“We know that he was in the bank twice,” said Rochester Police Detective Jeff Firman. “Once in the morning at around 10:27 a.m. when he kind of did a casing, and then he was there at 2:19 p.m., and that is when he did the actual robbery.” 

The suspect fled the building with an undisclosed amount of money, according to Mitchell, who also noted that there were no injuries to anyone, nor was there any damage to the building.

Mitchell said police responded to another robbery at TCF Bank, 17535 W. 12 Mile Road in Lathrup Village, at around 2 p.m. Aug. 8. 

During the robbery, the suspect implied that he had a gun and again demanded money from the teller in the form of a note. He then left the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. 

Following the release of surveillance photos by the Lathrup Village Police Department, investigators received an anonymous tip that identified the suspect. 

Jeffrey Ethan Able, a former resident of Commerce Township, was arrested at around 9 a.m. Aug. 14 in the area of Highland Road and Milford Road in Highland Township, Mitchell said. 

Detective Sgt. Michael Zang, of the Lathrup Village Police Department, discussed how police were able to identify Able. 

“We had a citizen call and said she thought she recognized the person from the robbery,” Zang said. “She gave me a name, and we matched a secretary of state photo to this suspect, and the dominos started falling with other evidence.”

“Through some of the technological (advances) that we used for the investigation, we were able to link that suspect to both robberies,” said Firman. “The quality of the surveillance photo and video from Lathrup Village was a giant help … along with somebody’s willingness to call in and help solve the case.

“They arrested Able and brought him back here to Rochester, to the Police Department, where we completed several search warrants that included his vehicle and some electronics that he had. Through the use of that and assistance from the FBI’s Gangs and Violent Crimes Task Force, we were able to link him to (additional crimes),” Firman said. 

Able was arraigned in the 52-3 District Court Aug. 15 on two counts of bank robbery, which each carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. His bond was set at $1 million cash.

Police believe Able, who has been lodged at the Oakland County Jail, was involved in several other violent crimes that are still under investigation, including a July 8 robbery at the Wicked Trigger Farms gun store on Dixie Highway in Waterford, a July 13 armed robbery at a 7-Eleven store on Scott Lake Road in Waterford and a July 16 armed robbery at a Mobile gas station in Highland Township.

“The FBI has obtained a federal complaint and arrest warrant (for those crimes), and Able is awaiting indictment at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,” said Firman.

An attorney for Able could not be reached by press time.