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Elementary school friends accused of staging a $1 million armed robbery

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Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 11:18:33-05

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Two people who have been friends since elementary school are being investigated for staging a million-dollar armed robbery.

More than $1 million was stolen in an armed robbery of a cash transport van.

The heist in February was detailed in court documents filed Wednesday, which illustrates a scheme carried out by the driver, his brother, and a grade school friend.

The armed robbery happened on February 15 in Okemos, east of Lansing.

Images of stacks of cash, armed masked men, surveillance photos and text messages all help paint a picture of a staged armed robbery of a cash transport van and how the thieves got away with more than $1 million.

An affidavit outlines how the FBI believes the 25-year-old driver schemed with his brother and a 20-year-old friend.

The driver worked for Empyreal Logistics at the time when the FBI believes he pretended to be robbed by two masked men with a gun.

Based on phone records and surveillance, investigators believe the driver coordinated with his brother and friend on February 15 to stage the robbery by having the brother flag the van down claiming it hit his car.

When the driver got out to check for damage, the friend hopped in armed with a rifle. They told the driver to go to the Okemos Community Church where the masked men unload more than $1 million in cash into one of their cars before driving away.

Investigators say the driver did not follow critical safety procedures outlined by his employer, Empyreal Logistics, like pressing a duress button behind the steering wheel.

Despite denying communication with his brother on the day of the crime, investigators connected the dots through text messages, Snapchats and video call photos showing the friend who the FBI believes is holding thousands of dollars in cash.

Federal investigators believe there could be evidence inside a Grand Rapids home as they continue the investigation.