New details released on Niles bank robbery turned bomb scare

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

Niles police have released new details about last week’s bank robbery turned bomb scare in the city’s downtown.

On Friday, Feb. 15, a suspect robbed the Chemical Bank in the 400 block of East Main St. after threatening to blow up the building.

After following up on several tips, police arrested Richard Smith, 44, of Benton Harbor, for the crime. Investigators say Smith walked up to the teller and handed them a note demanding money, and threatening to blow the bank up if they did not comply.

Smith was arraigned on Thursday on one count of bank robbery and a second count of armed robbery. Both charges carry a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

On Friday, police revealed that Smith got away with $1,800 from the bank, none of which has been recovered. Investigators also released that the suspicious bag left behind, which police initially thought could contain a bomb, actually contained a pair of boots.

Smith is being held in the Berrien County Jail.

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