BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) – A section of M-37 in Battle Creek was shut down for a time Tuesday as investigators worked to determine whether a powdery substance found in a bank robber’s vehicle was anthrax.
The FBI transported the product to Lansing, where the results came back negative for anthrax around 10 p.m.
The situation began Tuesday morning when a 51-year-old Lawton man wearing a hazmat-like suit, gloves and a surgical mask walked into the Chase Bank in the Fort Custer Industrial Park and claimed to have anthrax.
The man fled from the bank with an unknown amount of money.
He was spotted and pulled over by police a short time later near the intersection of Hill Brady Road and Skyline Drive, which is also M-37, officers said.
Officers found the powdery substance in the cab of the man’s truck when they arrested him. That’s when a hazmat crew was called in to investigate and M-37 was shut down. The road re-opened around 4 p.m.
“This is different. People implying that they have a powder that can be used to kill multiple people is not something we come across all the time,” said Battle Creek Police Department Sgt. Jim Martens said. “We see strange on a weekly basis, but I have not been told this story before.”
Battle Creek police identified the suspect on Wednesday as Douglas Wolthuis and said he had been charged with the robbery.