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Bomb threat plays role in latest bank robbery



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March 16, 2011 | 09:17 AM
Bloomfield — A bank robbery involving a bomb threat and a house fire continue to be investigated by local authorities.

The Pell Lake branch of First Michigan Bank, formerly First Banking Center, N1264 Park Road, was robbed for the third time in less than a year Saturday at about 8:20 a.m.

Town of Bloomfield police, the FBI and the Walworth County Sheriff's Department still are investigating the robbery.

According to a press release from town police, two employees were inside the bank preparing to open for business when a male subject called on the telephone.

The subject indicated a bomb had been placed in the vicinity of the bank and instructed the employees to gather money and exit the bank.

The employees followed instructions. When they were outside, a male subject told the employees to turn and not face him.

"After receiving the money, the male subject was able to flee from the area in an unknown direction on foot with an undetermined amount of U.S. currency," police stated in the press release.

During a telephone interview Monday, Bloomfield Police Sgt. Wilbert Kennedy said there were no explosives found at the scene after the robbery.

"Fortunately, there were no injuries," he said.

Kennedy said the person or people who may have committed the crime remain at large. As of Monday, police hadn't established a description of the subject.

"If anyone was out around that time and might have seen something, get a hold of us — whether you think it was suspicious or not," Kennedy said.

Town police are asking people with more information about the crime to contact Investigator Lori Domino or Kennedy at (262) 279-3454 or the Walworth County Sheriff's Department at (262) 741-4400.

Last summer, the bank was robbed twice.

On June 24, someone demanded money and entry into the bank vault. Two employees were left inside the vault for less than 15 minutes. The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of money and never was apprehended by police.

Recently, Jeremiah J. Ward was sentenced to 13 years in a state prison and seven years of extended supervisor for his role in the Aug. 31 armed robbery of what was then know as the Pell Lake First Banking Center.

According to court documents, on Sept. 4, Ward told police he robbed the bank using a BB gun. Two others — Shelby L. Kaleber and David C. Allen II, both of Kenosha, have been charged with armed robbery as a party to a crime in relation to the case.

Although Kennedy said it was still too early to discuss further details about Saturday's bank robbery, he said police officers are concerned about the number of times this bank has been robbed since last year.

Kennedy said town police have increased patrol around the bank.

"We're doing all that we can, but there's still 32 square miles for us to cover," he said.

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