A man accused of a series of robberies in Michigan showed his friend a backpack full of rifles, federal authorities said. The friend then went to the police in exchange for reward money, officials said.
The two-night series of robberies began at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, according to a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District Court of Michigan on Sept. 14.
A stolen Kia crashed through the front of a gun shop in Westland, Michigan, the complaint says. Seven people got out of the car, ran into the store and grabbed about 50 firearms before fleeing on foot, federal authorities said. Security footage captured the robbery lasting about a minute, TNZT 2 reported.
Thirty minutes later, two people broke into a pharmacy about 6 miles away, taking liquor bottles, the complaint said.
About the same time, a stolen Dodge drove through the front of a gun store in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, federal officials said. Three people got out, grabbed about 22 firearms and left, court documents said.
A stolen Chevrolet crashed into the same gun store in Dearborn Heights the next day, Monday, Sept. 12, around 12:15 p.m. Three people got out, grabbed firearms and then left before returning to steal more weapons, according to the indictment.
Surveillance footage and the similar manner in which the incidents took place led police to believe the same group of people were involved in the robberies, the indictment said. Authorities offered a $20,000 reward for information about the suspects in the robbery.
Someone approached Westland police and offered to cooperate with the reward money, federal officials said.
The witness told police that a robbery suspect — and friend — came by on Sept. 11 and showed a backpack full of weapons, the indictment said. The suspect — a Michigan man — later sent the friend a news article about the robberies, boasting that he was on the news, court records said.
The pair discussed the friend who bought one of the suspect’s guns, the complaint said, and the suspect sent a photo of a distinctive handgun identified as stolen from the gun store in Dearborn Heights.
The suspect and his younger brother were arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 13, court records said. The older brother confessed to taking part in both gun store robberies in Dearborn Heights, the indictment said.
The suspect is suspected of theft of firearms and knowingly possessing firearms, according to court records. The younger brother – who did not participate in the robberies – is charged with knowingly possessing stolen firearms, officials said.
Neither brother’s attorneys responded to McClatchy News’ request for comment.
Dearborn Heights is about 15 miles west of Detroit and Westland is about 4 miles further west.
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