Wayne County officer outsmarts bank robber with Arabic

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

An off-duty Wayne County Sheriff’s Office reservist spoke Arabic with bank workers to thwart a robber recently in Detroit, authorities said.

The officer was heading into a Chase bank near Warren and Southfield around 1:15 p.m. Saturday when he “noticed the clerks behind the window appeared agitated,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. A man in front of him then declined to approach when it was his turn, motioning for the officer to go ahead.

As that man slowly started to exit, the reservist walked up to the window and asked the teller if she spoke Arabic, according to the release.

“He quietly showed her his badge and asked, in Arabic, if the bank was being robbed,” the statement read. “That teller said yes, let her co-workers know a WCSO representative was there and proceeded to follow his direction to stay calm and lock the doors.”

Unaware of what happened, the suspect remained locked inside the entry doors.

“In the time of need this civilian reservist did not hesitate to do all he could to keep the situation from escalating,” said Paula Bridges, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “His quick thinking and calm presence made the difference in what could have been a very serious incident.”

The armed reservist didn’t speak with the suspect but kept watch until Detroit police arrived and arrested the man, whom investigators identified as David Ward. He was arraigned Monday on attempted robbery charges, authorities said.