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Press Release

Niles Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Bank Robbery

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Richard David Smith, 46, of Niles, Michigan, was sentenced today, November 18, 2014, to seven years in federal prison for Bank Robbery, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker ordered Smith to pay $1,817 in restitution and $1,000 in fines, and Judge Jonker imposed a three-year term of supervised release that will commence once Smith is released from imprisonment.

           A jury returned a guilty verdict on the charge of Bank Robbery on August 7, 2014, after a three-day trial. The evidence presented at trial showed that on February 15, 2013, the defendant entered a Chemical Bank located in Niles, Michigan, and placed a backpack in the foyer. He then walked up to one of the bank employees and displayed a demand note that had a bullet taped to it. The note stated that a bomb had been placed in the building, and it instructed the teller to put all of the money in an envelope. The note further advised that the defendant had people watching the bank, and if the teller contacted police within 30 minutes of the robbery, he would detonate the bomb. The bank employee surrendered $1,817 to the defendant, who then fled the bank, taking the money and his demand note, but leaving his backpack in the foyer.

           Local and federal law enforcement officers, including a bomb squad, responded to the scene of the robbery. The defendant’s bag was recovered, but it did not contain a bomb. The bag was swabbed for DNA, and testing later confirmed that DNA recovered from the backpack matched the defendant’s DNA. Based on a tip, police tracked the defendant down and arrested him on February 20, 2013. The defendant confessed to police, telling them why he committed the robbery and admitting there was no excuse for it. The defendant also admitted to another person that he had committed the robbery, but he said the government was going to have to prove it at trial.

           Smith committed the bank robbery in this case less than four months after he completed parole for a 2007 state conviction for Bank Robbery and Armed Robbery.

           The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Michigan State Police (MSP), and the Niles Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Lewis prosecuted the case.


Updated April 10, 2015