FBI: Accused Bank Robber Tried to Rob Gas Station Minutes Prior

Posted at 4:49 PM, May 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-08 16:54:13-04
walker armed robbery suspect

John Michael Barrera, 43

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (May 8, 2014) – A man accused of robbing a bank in Walker this week tried to rob a gas station in Rockford just 25 minutes before hitting the bank according to federal court documents.

John Michael Barrera, 43, was arrested at a motel near 28th Street and U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids the day after the Chase Bank inside the Alpine Avenue Meijer was robbed.

Surveillance images from the bank matched Barrera’s description, along with a white four-door Kia Amanti that was seen leaving the Meijer and parked at the motel.

Investigators seized $632 in cash from his room, along with a shirt and shoes matching the clothing in the surveillance images.  Authorities also seized a white rock substance believed to be crack cocaine.

Authorities were tipped off to Barrera’s location at the motel by a caller who saw the bank surveillance images on the news.

The caller also told investigators Barrera had robbed banks in the past and has a serious problem with narcotics addiction.

Barrera admitted to handing a teller a note at the Chase Bank which said “ALL $ NOW”, then told the teller “Give me your money, I am counting down.  30, 29,…”.

The teller handed over $1,000 from the teller drawer.  Barrera also put his hands in his pockets during the exchange, implying he had a weapon.

Barrera also admitted to an attempted robbery at a Rockford gas station just 25 minutes prior to the Chase Bank Robbery.

Barrera has previous bank robbery convictions on his record from 1996 and 2004 in Michigan.  He was released from prison less than a year ago after serving time for one of those convictions.