Empire – A 70-year-old man is charged with robbing three banks in northern Michigan towns while distracting police with phony reports of crimes, including a school shooting.

The robberies occurred in 2015 and 2016 in Empire and Lake Ann, small towns west of Traverse City. The case was unsealed last week in federal court.

The FBI says it seized key evidence from William Minore, including a World War II-era grenade. A similar grenade was displayed during a robbery at Honor State Bank in Lake Ann.

The FBI says Minore’s voice on calls to 911 was confirmed by family members. Investigators also connected his handwriting to a sign that was posted at a bank during a robbery, telling customers that the branch was closed.

Minore denies the allegations and says someone set him up as a “patsy.”

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