Catching bank robbers is an often-told success story in the Milwaukee Police Department’s Metropolitan Division. The Bank Robbery Unit is made up of seasoned detectives who stay on the trail until the arrest. Additionally, they train financial institution personnel how to behave during a bank robbery to ensure they stay safe during these dangerous crimes.
During the time frame of May 26, 2012 thru June 25, 2012, the Milwaukee Police Department was actively involved in the investigation of five south side bank robberies in Milwaukee. The suspects were also believed to have committed a bank robbery in an outside jurisdiction.
Following are the Milwaukee bank robberies:
1. Layton State Bank Occ 5-26-12 at 2740 W. Forest Home Ave.
2. Tri-City Bank Occ 5-29-12 at 3378 S 27 St.
3. North Shore Bank Occ 6-8-12 at 4232 W. Oklahoma Ave.
4. Associated Bank Occ 6-8-12 at 2590 N Downer Ave.
5. Tri City Bank Occ 6-25-12 at 3378 S 27 St.
On Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:12 a.m. the Tri-City National Bank in Wauwatosa at 10859 W. Blue Mound Rd. was robbed by a lone actor who ran away but was arrested by Wauwatosa police who were saturating the area. This suspect was identified as Michael R. Levitson.
Metropolitan Detectives coordinated efforts with Wauwatosa Police and a suspect was identified in several of the offenses. Metropolitan Detectives Ralph Spano and Gary Thundercloud questioned Levitson who confessed to his involvement.
On Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:58 a.m. Metropolitan Detectives along with members of the ATF Task Force and the MPD Tactical Enforcement Unit conducted a search warrant at a residence in the 3300 block of N. 26 St. An additional suspect believed to be involved in the bank robberies was arrested on the scene.
Continued investigation led officers and detectives to a West Allis hotel, where a female suspect, also believed to be involved, was arrested. Detectives Thundercloud and Kevin Klemstein questioned her and received additional information. Of note, Levitson had disguised himself with women’s clothing owned by the female suspect during the commission of several of these bank robberies.
On Friday, July 26, 2012 at 9:55 p.m. the final suspect believed to be involved was arrested by Police Officers Michael Tanem and Fawn Schwandt in the 3100 block of N. 29 St. Detectives Ralph Spano and David Anderson questioned the suspect.
Levitson was already on parole for a 2006 M & I Bank robbery. He was released from prison in 2010. He was charged with with four counts of Robbery of a Financial Institution.
A great job by all, notably Metropolitan Division Detectives Ralph Spano, David Anderson, Gary Thundercloud, Kevin Klemstein and Patrick Pajot; Intelligence Fusion Center Detective Michael Caballero; ATF Task Force Police Officers Dean Newport, Juan Duran, Rodolfo Ayala, Michael Wawrzyniakowski; Neighborhood Task Force Tactical Enforcement Unit officers under the supervision of Lt. Jutiki Jackson and Sgt. Bradley Buddenhagen.
The Bank Robbery Unit has cleared 17 of the 22 bank robberies that occurred in the city of Milwaukee this year. Additionally, good work by MPD cleared two bank robberies this year that occurred in other jurisdictions.
These cases are solved with dogged police work, persistence and the cooperation across bureaus and partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. We are proud to share these stories here.