A Michigan bank robber allegedly called in a false report about a school shooting to create a diversion before one of his holdups.
William Francis Minore is accused of robbing two banks in recent years at gunpoint and with threats of using a hand grenade, according to the FBI. He faces charges after police linked key evidence from three robberies to him.
A federal criminal complaint alleges Minore robbed Huntington Bank in Empire in September 2016, , stealing nearly $40,000, and also robbed the Honor State Bank in Lake Ann twice, in April and December 2015. He used a .38-caliber revolver in all of the robberies, authorities said.
When Minore robbed the Huntington Bank, he allegedly called 911 on a burner phone and said "a man entered a school and shot his daughter" and other people, the FBI said. The call ended abruptly. Police figured out quickly that the call was a diversion and no action was taken at the school, according to WWTV in Cadillac. However, the school was notified of the false alarm.
Before one of the Honor State Bank heists, Minore allegedly called 911 to falsely report that he was talking to his daughter when she was shot by her boyfriend. During the other robbery, he allegedly diverted police to a fake heist at a different bank.
“The calls confirm that the robber is likely the same for all three robberies," the FBI wrote in the complaint. Voice recognition software was used to analyze the three phone calls, leading authorities to believe they were made by the same caller.
When police raided Minore's abandoned camper in 2016, they found a World War II-era pineapple-style grenade, which was allegedly used to force employees in one robbery away from a vault.
Minore was arrested in 2016 for allegedly stealing a silver Kia Soul. Police later linked the car theft to the robberies, according to the Record-Eagle in Traverse City.
Minore denied the charges in a letter to WWTV. "My only hope at this point seems to be for the real robbers to rob another bank while I am in here [in jail],” he wrote. "Anybody who knows me knows how ridiculous these charges are."
Minore faces three counts of bank robbery, which could result in up to 25 years in jail. He also faces three counts of use of a firearm in furtherance of a bank robbery, which would lead to at least seven years in prison if convicted, consecutive to any other sentence. He is being held in United States Marshall custody and has a detention hearing set for April 16.
His trial was delayed in 2017 after his attorney tried to get evidence from prosecutors thrown out, according to the Record-Eagle. The lawyer attempted unsuccessfully to have Minore tried for only one of the three robberies, claiming there wasn't enough evidence to connect the crimes.
Minore also faces unrelated charges for allegedly possesing stun guns and for possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver.
[Photo: Leelanau County Sheriff's Office]