By Mark Constance
Photos by Tammie Titchenell and Tracy Constance
UPDATED – 10:50 a.m.
NORTHEAST MICHIGAN – The suspect in an alleged bank robbery / bomb threat (s) has been apprehended and is currently lodged in the Arenac County Jail in Standish.
According to the Michigan State Police, bomb threats closed several Northern Michigan Schools in what appears to been a diversionary tactic to cover a robbery at Mercantile Bank in Rose City.
Ogemaw County Sheriff Howie Hanft said the bank, located at 505 Bennett Street in Rose City, and bomb threats were “probably” related.
According to Sgt. Terry at the Michigan State Police (MSP) Houghton Lake Post, several bomb threats were called into the post, identifying districts up the I-75 corridor, and included schools in Arenac, Ogemaw, Roscommon and Crawford counties, as well Munson Medical Center in Grayling.
“Someone called in a threat to the Michigan State Police post this morning and identified (Grayling Elementary) and the Charlton Heston Academy,” Terry said.
The West Branch Post of the Michigan State Police has taken the lead on the investigation.
Although the situation was fluid earlier this morning, Terry said the threats likely false. As a precaution, a bomb dog has been brought in from the Cadillac Post to conduct inspections of the buildings. Although schools were initially on lockdown, the Charlton Heston Academy (CHA) was evacuated from the buildings. Grayling Elementary School and Surline Elementary in West Branch were both on lockdown, but Surline has been evacuated.
Oscoda County Sheriff Kevin Grace said Mio-AuSable Schools also had a bomb threat called in. The school buildings were put on lockdown, but Grace said inspections found no evidence of a bomb. School remains in session.
“We are monitoring the situation closely,” Grace said. “The safety of our students is our primary concern.”
CHA Superintendent Dave Patterson issued the following statement earlier.
“Please know Charlton Heston Academy and other surrounding schools and some businesses received a threatening phone call of a bomb being inside buildings. CHA has evacuated all students and staff and have the police in the building conducting their sweep. We have been advised that this is a bogus phone call and that there is no danger to students, staff, the community nor the building.”
Munson Medical Center in Grayling was on lockdown earlier, according to Spokesperson Dale Killingbeck.
“Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital has received an all clear from authorities following a bomb threat to the region,” Killingbeck said. “Residents will now be able to access the hospital and normal operations are resuming.
“Hospital leadership thanks all first-responders for their quick work in resolving the issue.”
The threats have caused a cascade of reactions including the temporary closure of several banking institutions, including North Central Area Credit Union in Grayling.
“Per law enforcement request, all of our branches are on lockdown. We will reopen as soon as law enforcement permits,” the credit union noted in a statement.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
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