FBI: Man admitted robbing bank in Meijer


WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Federal authorities say a man has admitted to robbing a bank branch located in a Meijer, and trying to rob a gas station convenience store not long before that.

John Barrera, 43, was being held in the Kent County jail Wednesday. His case has been handed over the FBI and he is expected to face federal bank robbery charges.

The Chase Bank branch in the Meijer on Alpine Avenue NW in Walker was robbed around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Barrera allegedly handed the teller a note, which she told him she didn’t understand, the FBI says.  He then allegedly told her to hand over the cash and started counting down from 30. He left with about $1,000, according to investigators.

The robber did not appear to do anything to hide his identity and his face was caught on surveillance camera. An image was released to the media Tuesday evening.

The man suspected of robbing the Chase Bank branch inside the Alpine Avenue Meijer. (May 6, 2014)
(The man suspected of robbing the Chase Bank branch inside the Alpine Avenue Meijer. May 6, 2014)

Someone who knows Barrera saw his face on TV and called authorities, FBI agents said in a sworn statement, telling them Barrera had a drug problem and that he was at a motel on 28th Street.

In just a few hours, Barrera was in custody.

The FBI says $632 and crack cocaine were found in Barrera’s motel room.

Barrera has already served prison time for robbing banks in the Saginaw area.

Michigan State Police records show he held up a bank and stole a car on the same day in 1996. He spent time in prison and was paroled in 2004.

He was still on parole when he robbed another bank in the same area. According to the Saginaw News, Barrera’s lawyer told the judge at his sentencing that Barrera “honestly doesn’t remember” robbing the bank.  He was sentenced to prison again.

Barrera was released from state custody in August 2013 and moved to Grand Rapids.

The FBI agent said in his statement that Barrera also admitted  trying to rob a Mobil gas station convenience store at 14 Mile Road and Edgerton Avenue in Algoma Township 20 minutes before the bank was robbed. In that case, he did not get away with any money.

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