TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (CBS Local) — A 70-year-old man in Michigan has been accused of three bank robberies after placing fake 911 calls to divert police from his crimes.
According to the FBI, William Francis Minore used a phony school shooting and other similar emergencies as a distraction while he held up banks in Empire and Lake Ann at gunpoint.
In 2016, Minore allegedly called police and told dispatchers that “a man entered a school and shot his daughter, is shooting other people,” FBI special agent Larry Stewart Jr. said, via MLive.com. Minore then moved in to rob the Huntington Bank, armed with a silver .38-caliber revolver.
The robber allegedly used the same tactics to rob the Honor State Bank twice in 2015. “Like the Huntington Bank robbery, the Honor State Bank robberies involved a man wearing a ski mask who took over the entire bank, neutralized personnel, and accessed monies, which were held in the vault or safe,” Stewart explained. The FBI agent added that Minore also threatened bank employees with a World War II-era grenade during one of the holdups.
Authorities were able to connect the 70-year-old to the crimes after a “chorus of people familiar” including his sister and daughter identified the voice recorded by police as Minore’s. The grenade was also found by police in the suspect’s abandoned camper.
Minore has denied that he’s the bank robber, saying that he’s been set up as a “patsy” in the case. He’s been jailed and faces several charges including three counts of bank robbery, which carry a 25-year prison sentence.