Suspect in bank robbery-turned bomb scare says he didn't do it

The man accused of pulling off a bank robbery turned bomb scare in downtown Niles says he did not commit the crime.

According to the Niles Daily Star, Benton Harbor resident Richard Smith, 44, pleaded not guilty in federal court on Tuesday to a single count of bank robbery by force. The next step of Smith’s judicial journey is a to-be-scheduled pretrial conference.

The robbery Smith is accused of perpetrating occurred in February at the Chemical Bank located in the 400 block of East Main St. Investigators say he handed the teller a note demanding money and threatening to blow up the bank if police were called.

The robber also left behind a suspicious bag, which police determined did not contain any explosives. Rather, they say that a pair of boots was inside.

Smith allegedly got away with $1,800, and at this point in time, police have not recovered the money.

Officials say Smith will remain in prison until his trial date, during which it will be decided whether Smith will serve the 20 years he faces if convicted of the federal charge.

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