by BETH ALTENA
“It isn’t against any law to go into a bank with a helmet on, but it certainly should be a red flag for tellers,” said Kent County Sheriff Lt. Kevin Kelley.
The Sheriff’s Department, assisted by task force members from the Grand Rapids office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are seeking the identity of a gunman who robbed the Lake Michigan Credit Union on Ten Mile Road at 9:05 a.m. Monday, July 13.
In charge of the investigation is Kent County officer Brad Mercer, who reported the individual was a white man with a handgun jammed into his pants as he entered the credit union in Algoma Township.
“He went west on Ten Mile Road and that’s the last anyone saw of him,” Mercer stated.
Without knowing the individuals criminal background, Mercer said it was impossible to guess what sentence he will face when caught. “I’d say a minimum of five years if it was a first offense. Bank robbery carries a severe punishment.”
Mercer said the department has just recently arrested a serial ring of bank robbers, six individuals whose crimes go back to 2003. He said those were violent ones where several armed thieves entered the banks.
Carrying a weapon into a bank robbery increases the possible sentence. Because tellers are routinely told to hand over the money with or without a weapon, there isn’t much reason to carry a gun or other weapon.
According to Kelley, about half of bank robbers do carry a weapon. He said it makes no difference to the case that the office is a credit union rather than a bank.
Still images from the credit union security cameras were released and anyone with any information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.
“Most of the time we do find out who is responsible,” said Kelley. He said investigation often turns up the suspect but others convicted of crimes trying to improve their own circumstances turn in the names of those who committed unsolved crimes.