Bank robber gives cops the slip, but they get their man

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Police finally caught up with a four-time bank robber last week after a chase in which he dumped his niece out of moving car, sending her to the hospital, authorities said.

They said the break came when a citizen tip led police to Jerald Childs, inebriated and passed out in a west side homeless shelter.

Childs, 57, is being held in the Wayne County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond after he was charged Tuesday with one count of attempted bank robbery and being a habitual offender.

“He already has four convictions for bank robbery,” Detective Michael Pacteles said. “I don’t know why he was out on the street in the first place.”

Police say Childs was driving a 1997 green Jeep Cherokee on the city’s northwest side when he was pulled over for a traffic violation at about 10:40 a.m. Feb. 17.

After getting the driver’s ID and title, the officer realized the vehicle had a bogus license plate. “The officer goes back to the car, and (Childs) takes off with his niece in the passenger seat,” Pacteles said.

Police chased him down Grand River and Fenkell on the northwest side. “You could see from the dash cam video that the niece was trying to get (Childs) to stop,” he said.

Police eventually decided to end the chase. “About a mile later, (Childs) dumps his niece out of the Jeep while it’s still moving, and she’s injured,” Pacteles said.

About three hours later, Childs allegedly walked into the Bank of America branch at 3760 Woodward near Mack and handed a teller a bank slip bearing the message: “This is a robbery I have a gun give me the money.”

“He slides the note under the window, but the teller doesn’t give him the money; she walks away and calls the police,” Pacteles said. “He then leaves, gets back in his Jeep and drives away.”

Bank surveillance video captured the alleged attempted robbery, while video from Orchestra Hall across the street caught the Jeep driving away.

“I tracked down Childs’ niece, and she gave her side of the story,” said Pacteles, who was assigned to investigate the bank robbery. “She knew nothing about the bank robbery because she was in the hospital,” having being injured after being shoved out of the moving Jeep.

Officers later spotted the Jeep outside the Mariner’s Inn drug treatment center on Ledyard, six blocks south of the bank branch where the robbery attempt allegedly took place.

“He checked himself into the facility because he knew he was wanted,” Pacteles said. “The officers tried to get him out, but because it’s a medical facility they wouldn’t release him.

“In the middle of the night the next night, I got an emailed tip from a man who said the bank robber was dropped off in the middle of the night at the (Neighborhood Service Organization homeless shelter) on Oakman.

“He was drunk and passed out in the shelter,” Pacteles said when officers picked him up.

“This is another dumb criminal story. Who gives police their ID, leads them on a chase, and then goes and robs a bank? Who does that?”

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