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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lawton Resident, Douglas Scott Wolhuis, Sentenced For Hoax Bomb And Anthrax Bank Robberies

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr., announced today that Douglas Scott Wolthuis, 51, of Lawton, was sentenced to 54 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell. He will be supervised for two years after he is released, and he was ordered to pay restitution and a fine. Wolthuis pled guilty to one count of bank robbery in December pursuant to a plea agreement under which the second count of bank robbery was to be dismissed.

          In April 2015, Wolthuis robbed a Fifth Third Bank branch in Kalamazoo. In June 2015,he robbed a Chase Bank branch in Battle Creek. He concealed his identity for both robberies, including with a mask, and passed demand notes. For the first robbery, he claimed in his demand note that he had a bomb. For the second robbery, he claimed in his note that he had anthrax. When he was arrested a short time after the second robbery, responding officers found a clear container of white powder in his vehicle. Biohazard response teams secured the scene, shutting down traffic for hours, until they confirmed that the substance was not a biological weapon.

          “Armed bank robberies are extremely dangerous, even when robbers use hoax weapons, because of the law enforcement response that is necessarily provoked,” U.S. Attorney Miles said. “I am very grateful for the work of the Michigan National Guard, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department (“KCSD”), the Battle Creek Police Department (“BCPD”), the Battle Creek Fire Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) in addressing this potential hazard to the public’s health and safety. It instills confidence that we are prepared should we ever face such a threat.” U.S. Attorney Miles also praised the BCPD officer whose quick response to the Chase robbery led to the apprehension of Wolthuis.

          “Mr. Wolthuis’s crimes go beyond the financial theft,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Detroit. “His claims of having various weapons of mass destruction disrupted the public and necessitated the emergency response of numerous community resources, including those of the BCPD, the BCFD, and their Hazardous Response Team, and the Michigan National Guard’s 51st Civil Support Battalion, as well as the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator. The response of each of these organizations was outstanding and critical to law enforcement’s ability to solve this case.”

          The FBI, the KCSD, and the BCPD investigated the robberies. Assistant U.S. AttorneyJustin M. Presant prosecuted the case.

END

Updated April 7, 2016