By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – A grocery bag could be a simple piece of garbage, or it could be the difference between life and death.
The Chase Bank at 1909 Fort Street was the scene of an armed robbery about 10:45 a.m. July 10 and the teller who was robbed had to make that differentiation.
Officers arrived about 10:51 a.m. and surrounded the bank’s perimeter to wait for the all-clear sign from within. They then entered, but the suspect was gone.
A black man about 6 feet 2 inches tall weighing 200 to 230 pounds and between the ages of 25 and 35 had approached a teller window, saying, “I want to cash a check,” while placing an empty white plastic grocery bag on the counter.
The teller thought the bag was trash and placed it in the garbage can behind him. When he turned back to the counter, the suspect was holding up his shirt with his left hand, intentionally exposing the handle of a pistol tucked into the left side of his waistband.
Quickly turning back to the garbage can, the teller retrieved the bag and filled it with several stacks of cash totaling $3,750. The suspect took the bag of cash, walked out the front door and turned east through the parking lot.
Police said he was wearing black jeans, a white T-shirt and a black Detroit Tigers baseball cap with a red D on the front. He also had some facial hair.
A resident in the 1800 block of 23rd Street spoke to investigators an hour after the incident and said he was doing lawn work in his front yard when he saw a man fitting the description emerge from the alley on the west side of 23rd from Fort Street.
The resident said the man walked east from the alley and across a nearby neighbor’s lawn in a slow, casual pace, which the resident felt was odd.
The resident said the suspect – who he specifically recalled as having a striking resemblance to former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dontrelle Willis – got in an older, dark-colored, midsized vehicle parked at the curb and drove south on 23rd to Ford Avenue, at which point the resident lost sight of the vehicle.
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])