The suspect was caught quickly, thanks to the public aiding police.
It did not take long for authorities to track down a suspect in the armed robbery of a TCF Bank on Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley last month, according to documents posted by the U.S. attorney’s office on Thursday.
First there were the identifying features. The white male robber, who looked to be about 25, had a goatee and a mustache, and he was wearing a black Boston Red Sox baseball cap and a black hooded jacket with white lettering that read “Zoo York.”
Photos of him taken by the bank’s surveillance cameras were sent the same day to the media by the Apple Valley police. The pictures ran on TV and were posted on news websites. By the next day, there had been nearly a dozen calls to the department, identifying a suspect, Mark Steven Smith.
“It was really a prime example of the community coming together and solving a crime,” said Capt. Michael Marben of the Apple Valley police.
Then there was the note the robber handed to a teller, written in ink on a half-sheet of spiral notebook paper that stated something like, “This is a robbery,” according to a complaint filed by FBI special agent David Walden.
When Apple Valley police searched the man’s apartment on the 7700 block of Whitney Drive in Apple Valley on Oct. 9, the day after the robbery, they found a spiral notebook with a page torn out. The bottom of the page was missing.
But on the following page, police detective Brian Bone was able to see the indentation of the words: “This is a robbery.”
Smith, 26, who had shown the teller a black handgun tucked in his belt, has been charged in a federal grand jury indictment with one count of armed robbery for stealing $1,823.
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron ordered that Smith be held without bond.□
Randy Furst • 612-673-4224