Plainwell bank robbery detailed in court papers

By: 
Daniel Pepper

Further details in court records show how police and federal agents zeroed in on the man who the say robbed the PNC Bank in Plainwell Thursday, June 14.
According to a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court against Paul Michael Donnelly, 50, of Key West, Fla., when he entered the bank about 10:55 a.m., he acted like a normal customer, going to a service kiosk from the teller stations and appeared to fill out a withdrawal slip.
Donnelly waited, according to the complaint, until a customer had left the bank and then approached one of the two tellers at work.
“(The robber) set the green backpack on the floor, and presented her with a note, which stated on one side, ‘I HAVE A BOMB IN BAG CASH IN BAG NOW.’ On the other side of the demand note was written, ‘I HAVE A BOMB IN BAG PUT ALL NON-MARK $ IN BAG.’
“The robber then told the victim teller, ‘Don’t push any buttons and be quick’ and he also pushed a black plastic bag across the teller counter toward her.
“The victim teller took approximately $4,749 from her top teller drawer, put the money in the black plastic bag and gave the money to the bank robber, who then walked out of the bank through the same entrance and was lost from view. The robber left the green backpack on the floor of the bank when he fled.”
The FBI agent writing the report said that later on the day of the robbery, Plainwell police received multiple tips from close associates of Donnelly, saying they believed he was the man in photos of the robbery publicized in the media.
“Donnelly’s associates stated that they recognized Donnelly’s face, posture, unique-looking brimmed fishing hat and sunglasses as belonging to Donnelly,” the complaint said.
One person spoke to the agent himself, he wrote, and showed him a picture of Donnelly wearing the same hat and sunglasses on Donnelly’s Facebook.
“The associate also told me about a conversation that Donnelly had with a separate individual in the past few days, in which Donnelly stated that he was thinking about robbing a bank,” the complaint said.
That person, the agent wrote, had bought a green backpack for Donnelly on June 11, which appeared to be the same backpack used in the robbery.
Donnelly, the agent was told, had recently come to Plainwell from Texas to see people he knows here and that he was unemployed and lacked a consistent source of income.
The complaint said the Michigan State Police saw someone who arrested Donnelly walking along US-131 about 1:22 a.m. June 15 found his blood alcohol level at that time was .24. He was, according to the complaint, wearing sandals that resembled those worn by the robber.
“...Donnelly had approximately $4,468.73 in cash, including large bills in his pocket, along with several State of Michigan Lottery tickets that were time stamped approximately one half hour after the robbery,” the complaint said.
Donnelly has been arraigned on one count of armed bank robbery in federal court. The crime is punishable by up to 25 years in federal prison.
 

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