Police arrest suspect linked to two 3Rivers Federal Credit Union heists in a week

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — A city credit union was robbed twice within days by a man wearing no disguise.

He’s now behind bars.

Evidence in the cases suggest he took very little precaution to avoid being caught.

59-year old Michael Coates is charged with two counts of felony robbery.

Photos released from a holdup at the 3Rivers Federal Credit Union last Thursday and from another at the same branch on Tuesday, August 6th show the suspected thief was wearing the same shirt, glasses and hair style both times and did not attempt to mask his face.

READ MORE: 3Rivers branch robbed for second time in as many weeks

In the second heist this week, when police say Coates came into the branch, they claim he walked up to a teller and stated “Put a grand up here,” going on to say “I was here last week”.

In court documents, the teller told police he recognized Coates and because of his demand, he counted out $1,000 before the suspect grabbed the cash and left the building.

Police arrested Coates on U.S. 24 just across the Ohio line.

READ MORE: Police search for suspect in Thursday afternoon bank robbery

Police say he had money in the car, and readily told officers he didn’t have the whole amount because he’d stopped on the way for food and gas.

Later, in an interview, police say Coates agreed the bank photos are of him and look like him.

Why did he drive to Ohio?

“It was probably because our officers were behind him, surveilling until we could get additional units there to help with the stop, so I think he probably just kept driving,” said Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena with the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Last week, police say Coates came into the same branch, and handed a different teller a note that said, “Give me $2,500, don’t say anything to anybody else, I am armed.”

When the teller said she didn’t have that much, he said, “Give me what you got.”

The second heist ended with him in handcuffs.

After the bank photo was put out to the public from crime number one, Michael Coates’ son called police and told them it was his father in the picture.

He also gave them his dad’s cell number, and on the strength of a warrant, they got a ping on the phone’s location after holdup number two, putting officers on the suspect’s trail.

“The fact that the suspect was apprehended so quickly after the robbery certainly does bring a sense of relief that he’s not going to walk in again next week, or the week after,” said Melissa Shaw, with 3Rivers Federal Credit Union.

We’re told Coates has a criminal history from at least two other states, and now faces legal trouble in Indiana.

Jacob Burbrink

Jacob Burbrink

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