Detroit Bank Robber Threatens Use of Bomb

Alarm notified police, who captured robber within minutes of alarm


A 42-year-old Clarkston man held up a Comerica Bank branch in Birmingham late Tuesday afternoon and threatened to blow up the building if his demands were not met, police said.

Birmingham Police Chief Richard Patterson said a silent alarm was activated at 4:10 p.m. at the Comerica branch at North Old Woodward and Hamilton -- just a couple of blocks from the Police Department.

Within seconds, police were at the bank.

Officers entered the bank and asked everyone inside to raise their hands. "He was the only one who didn't raise his hands," Patterson said.

The man was being held at the Birmingham jail pending arraignment at 2 p.m. today in 48th District Court, Patterson said.

A four-paragraph note was recovered inside the bank. The man had handed it to one of the tellers. On the note, he wrote that he was robbing the bank, and had a gun and a radio transmitter that could trigger a "small but nasty bomb" a partner had hidden.

The man handed the teller a briefcase and ordered that specific bills be placed inside.

After the man was arrested, the bank and surrounding businesses were evacuated. No weapons or explosives were found and the evacuation order was lifted about 8:15 p.m.

The man is a suspect in at least five other bank robberies, Patterson said. In the earlier robberies, which occurred over the past two weeks, about $100,000 total was stolen. Police say the man has a gambling problem.