GROSSE POINTE WOODS, Mich. – A man who targeted four banks in Eastpointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Harper Woods, and Redford Township was identified by police because he wrote a demand note on his own paycheck stub and left it with a teller after a robbery, officials said.
A criminal complaint was unsealed Friday (March 24) and accuses Collin Carl Love Jr., 23, and Laronte Hill, 21, of being involved in three bank robberies and an attempted bank robbery in Metro Detroit.
Redford Township bank robbery
Officials said the Community Choice Credit Union at 25447 5 Mile Road in Redford Township was robbed at 12:27 p.m. Feb. 4.
The criminal complaint alleges Love walked into the bank and handed the teller a note that said, “I want $20,000 dollars. All 100 dollar bills no dye packs no tracking devices or funny business I have a gun and I will shoot somebody PSA give me this check back when done!”
He was wearing a yellow construction vest, a face covering, blue pants, and tan boots without laces, according to authorities.
The teller walked into the back of the bank to get the money and told the manager about the robbery. The manager called authorities while the teller returned to give $4,000 to Love, officials said.
Love fled on foot, according to the complaint.
Redford Police Department officers interviewed the teller and the manager, and learned that Love had left the demand note.
The note appeared to have been written on a paycheck stub that tracked to a temp agency in Troy, officials said. The agency told authorities that Love was the owner of the account to which the check belonged.
Police said Love appeared to match the physical description of the bank robber.
The temp agency also provided Love’s cellphone number, which authorities traced to CashApp accounts.
Denied gun purchase
Investigators learned that Love had twice been denied the purchase of a firearm -- including on the same day as the Redford Township bank robbery.
He went to the gun store around 6 p.m. Feb. 4 and around 1 p.m. Feb. 6, but was not allowed to buy a gun, according to the criminal complaint.
Love has an injunctive order against him for a report of domestic violence, as of December 2022.
Surveillance video footage from the gun store showed Love entering without a mask. His physical appearance seemed to match that of the Community Choice Credit Union robber, officials said.
Harper Woods bank robbery
FBI agents were alerted around 10:13 a.m. Feb 10 that the Christian Financial Credit Union at 19770 Harper Avenue in Harper Woods was being robbed.
According to the complaint, a man wearing an orange vest, a face covering, blue pants, and tan boots without laces entered the bank and passed a teller a note that said, “I WANT 10,000 All 100′s NO Dye Packs or Tracking devices I Have a Gun and I will shoot SOMEbody NO Funny business!”
The teller gave Love $9,000, and he left the bank on foot without taking the note, court records say.
The note was written on what appeared to be a paycheck from a temp labor agency that’s no longer in business, officials said. Some of the information on the check had been intentionally masked, including the payee and account numbers, the complaint says.
When FBI agents submitted the check to the Michigan State Police lab, Love’s index fingerprint was found on it, they said.
Investigators said at the time that they believed the same person had robbed the banks in Redford Township and Harper Woods because of the similar clothing, robbery style, note wording, and demeanor. They also believed the same person had tried to buy the gun on Feb. 4.
Gun purchase denied in Dearborn
A firearms dealer in Dearborn called police Feb. 10 to inform them that Love had again tried to buy a pistol.
Officials received a warrant for records on Love’s cellphone from 8 a.m. Feb. 4 to 11:59 p.m. Feb. 10. An FBI agent said Love’s cellphone had been in the geographic location of both bank robberies and the attempted gun purchases on Feb. 4 and Feb. 10.
Rejected gun purchases are recorded in federal databases, so officials checked the documentation filled out by Love. Video footage of the person who provided Love’s information on the Feb. 4 purchase form showed that he matched the physical appearance of Love’s driver’s license photo, authorities said.
Handwriting samples from the firearm application were compared to the bank robbery notes, and an expert said there was a “high probability” that they were written by the same person. The criminal complaint says the only higher level of certainty is “virtually certain.”
Eastpointe bank robbery attempt
Love is suspected of entering the Eastpointe Community Credit Union at 22544 Gratiot Avenue on Feb. 24. He handed the teller a note on a white receipt that said he would shoot someone if he wasn’t given money, the criminal complaint says.
“I need $20,000 all 100s no tracking devices or dye packs don’t try to be a hero I will shoot & kill somebody,” the note said, according to the complaint.
The teller told Love that they were going to get money, but then never returned, officials said. Love left the bank on foot, authorities said.
Grosse Pointe Woods bank robbery
On Feb. 28, FBI agents issued a state search warrant for a pen register and ping location for Love’s cellphone.
Investigators were tracking the real-time location of Love’s phone on March 3 when they noticed a break from its normal pattern, they said. Love was traveling to the area of St. Clair Shores.
While officials were discussing this change in routine, Grosse Pointe Woods police issued a bank robbery alert for the Fifth Third Bank on Mack Avenue.
Police said the bank robber had gotten into an older model black Monte Carlo sedan and left the area. They chased the car for a short distance, but called off the pursuit due to speed.
2 men arrested
Officers went to Love’s home on Rosemary Street in Detroit to see if he would return in the Monte Carlo. The address had been provided by Love on probation documents.
A few moments after police arrived outside the Detroit home, they received a call from an off-duty officer who had seen two men laughing and talking loudly about getting away from authorities, according to the criminal complaint.
The off-duty officer said he saw one of the men put a license plate down his pants while walking down the street.
When police got to the location, both men ran away, the complaint says. Officers caught up to them and placed them under investigative detention.
The first person was identified as Hill, and the second was identified as Love, authorities said.
Hill had a gun, cash, and a bank band from Fifth Third Bank in his possession, court records say. Officials said they found the license plate from the Monte Carlo in Hill’s pants.
Police said Love was in possession of a gun, $9,000 cash, and the cellphone that authorities had been tracking.
Hill and Love were both arrested by Grosse Pointe Woods police.
Bank robbery details
Love requested counsel before answering any questions, but Hill agreed to speak with law enforcement.
Hill said he acted as the lookout at the Harper Woods and Eastpointe banks, waiting in the Monte Carlo for Love to come back with stolen money. He said he would have called Love if he noticed any authorities showing up, court records show.
During the Grosse Pointe Woods robbery, Hill presented the demand note to the bank teller while Love waited in the car as the lookout, Hill said. He told police that once he had gotten the money, he gave it to Love, and Love gave him his cut.
Harper Woods police searched Love’s home and the Monte Carlo following the arrests.
Boots, pants, and a hooded sweatshirt that appeared to match the items worn by the robber during the Harper Woods and Redford Township incidents were found at the home, according to authorities.
Check stubs similar to those used for demand notes were found at the home and inside the Monte Carlo, officials said.
A fedora similar to the one seen during the Eastpointe bank robbery attempt was found in the car, police said.
Wrapping material for a construction vest from ACE Hardware was also found in the car, and the vest appeared to match the one seen during the Redford Township bank robbery, the criminal complaint says.
Officials said the evidence found during the searches, the cellphone location data, and the information from Hill is enough to conclude Love robbed three banks and tried to rob a fourth.
Hill also played a significant role in the Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe Woods bank robberies, as well as the attempted robbery in Eastpointe, according to court records.
“His criminal conduct escalated throughout the month-long crime spree,” the complaint says. “Love Jr. and Hill acted together in committing the bank robberies and took turns actually entering the banks and presenting tellers with demand notes and acting as the getaway driver. They split the proceeds once the robberies were complete.”
The complaint concludes there’s probable cause to charge both men with bank robbery and incidental crimes, as well as conspiracy to commit bank robbery.