Police work to determine the contents of a bag left behind by the Chemical Bank robber Feb. 15. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Police work to determine the contents of a bag left behind by the Chemical Bank robber Feb. 15. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Archived Story

Contents of bank robbery bag revealed

Published 11:40am Friday, February 22, 2013

We now know what was in the bag left behind by the Chemical Bank robber — a pair of boots.

The Niles City Police Department released this information Friday morning, along with the amount of money taken during the robbery Feb. 15.

The robber stole $1,800, which has not been recovered.

On Wednesday, police arrested Richard David Smith, 44, at his brother’s residence in Benton Harbor. Smith was arraigned Thursday on felony counts of bank robbery and armed robbery, both carrying possible life sentences. He is being held at the Berrien County Jail on $1 million cash surety bond.

Police believe Smith is responsible for robbing Chemical Bank at 407 E. Main St. in Niles at around 11:30 a.m.

The robber presented the teller a note demanding money, threatening to blow up the bank if police were called.

The suspect left the bank through the Fifth Street entrance and headed toward Sycamore Street.

No one was injured, and bank employees were evacuated as police secured the immediate area a few minutes after the robbery.

The suspect left a bag in the bank near the Main Street entrance. The Berrien County Bomb squad was called to assist and identify the package. The bomb squad’s investigation, which included using a “bomb robot,” revealed the package was not a threat. It was removed from the scene.

Until Friday, police would not reveal what was in the bag or how much money was stolen.

Niles Police Det. Richard Krueger said Smith was developed as a suspect late Tuesday thanks to a combination of tips and hard work.

Krueger also said Smith left Niles shortly after the robbery, although Krueger didn’t say exactly how long Smith stayed in Niles. Smith then traveled back and forth between Benton Harbor and Niles at least one time — possibly more — after the robbery and before his arrest.

Krueger said Smith was visiting “friends and family” in Niles in the time between the robbery and his capture. Krueger said he doesn’t believe these friends and family had anything to do with the crime.

“We don’t have information of anyone assisting him at this point,” Krueger said.

Smith is scheduled to appear in a Niles court March 1.

Krueger thanked the community for aiding Niles police in the investigation.

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