By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — A Telegraph Road check-cashing business was among a series of robberies throughout Southeast Michigan that prosecutors said were orchestrated by a Detroit Police officer.
Clifton Whatley, 34, was arraigned Thursday in Taylor’s 23rd District Court on three counts of armed robbery, two counts of bank robbery, running a criminal enterprise and three counts of unlawful imprisonment and felony firearm.
According to Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller, Whatley — a Detroit police officer since 2000 most recently assigned to the Central District office — was the principal planner of a robbery enterprise beginning in May 2012.
“Whatley organized and orchestrated a series of robberies throughout Wayne County,” Miller said, including Taylor, Westland, Canton, Harper Woods and Melvindate.
Similar charges are faced by a longtime friend of Whatley’s, 35-year-old Layman D. Armstrong. Prosecutors said that Armstrong robbed Check ‘n’ Go, 9125 Telegraph, in May 2012, as well as other similar robberies. Armstrong is charged with armed robbery, bank robbery and felony firearm possession.
Preliminary examinations of the evidence against both Whatley and Armstrong are scheduled for April 8. Armstrong was in custody last week, and Whatley remained in custody on a $1 million cash bond.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy said in a statement that any further details would be presented during the preliminary examination.
“It is alleged that Clifton Whatley has robbed victims in five of our Wayne County communities,” Worthy said. “We will vigorously present our case in court.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])