MARQUETTE - A manhunt was continuing today for an armed suspect who robbed the Northern Michigan Bank & Trust branch at the Gateway Plaza in Harvey Wednesday afternoon.
Chocolay Township Police said several tips had been received and occupants of a pick-up with a fifth wheel, which was seen in a bank surveillance image were located and interviewed Wednesday. They have not been cleared as possible suspects. An additional interview was expected today.
Police are also looking to speak to the occupant of a gray or silver sport-utility vehicle that was seen in the parking lot of the bank about 1:10 to 1:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Chocolay Township Police Sgt. Scott Jennings said the robbery occurred at about 1:15 p.m. when a clean-cut white male walked into the bank - which is located at the plaza near the intersection of U.S. 41 and M-28 - and brandished a black automatic pistol in front of a bank teller.
E.J. Kostreva, president of the northern district of Northern Michigan Bank & Trust in Marquette, said the robbery from start to finish was completed in about 30 seconds. No customers were in the bank. The robber gave a duffel bag to the bank teller, one of two employees in the bank at the time.
"He said, 'Fill her up," Kostreva said.
"Yeah, right," the clerk replied.
"Then he flashed the gun," Kostreva said.
The teller began putting money into the bag.
"Do you want any more," the clerk asked.
"No, that's enough," the robber said, according to Kostreva.
The robber then left the bank on foot, heading north with an undisclosed amount of money, running past a drive-thru window toward a wooded area. A driveway behind the bank connects with parking lots for nearby businesses along M-28 and U.S. 41, including McDonald's Restuarant off M-28 and the Holiday Station Store along U.S. 41.
The armed robbery suspect was described by police as 6-feet, 2- or 3-inches tall; 220 pounds; with darker, almost black colored hair.
He was wearing a green zip-up fleece type jacket and black-rimmed glasses. He is estimated to be in his late 20s to mid 30s.
Police were able to view numerous images of the robber on bank surveillance cameras and police were rushing photographs and video images out to the media Wednesday afternoon. Police were using the hood of a patrol vehicle to pore over maps of the area.
"Hopefully, we'll catch this guy," Jennings said.
Agents from the FBI office in Marquette, along with detectives from the Marquette City Police Department and Marquette County Sheriff's Department were assisting Chocolay Police in the their investigation.
Inside the bank, yellow police tape blocked off an area in front of the teller window, where the robber had stood during the robbery.
A K-9 unit was searching the area, along with detectives from the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team and a Michigan Department of Natural Resources plane was flying over the area.
Local schools were locked down as a precaution while the search continued.
No injuries were reported in the incident.
Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the nearest police agency or the Chocolay Township Police Department at 249-4040.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.