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“Respectful robber” tied to armed robberies in three states

Steven Timothy Snyder, the “respectful robber,” shot and killed a Wisconsin man and a Wisconsin State Trooper, after a bank robbery March 24.

Steven Timothy Snyder, the “respectful robber,” shot and killed a Wisconsin man and a Wisconsin State Trooper, after a bank robbery March 24.

The “respectful robber” turned cold-blooded killer, aka Steven Timothy Snyder, of Kingston, Michigan, is now believed to be responsible for nine armed robberies of banks located in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, according to the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, who is part of a law enforcement task force investigating his crimes.

The Newaygo County Sheriff Office put out a news release, in January 2015, announcing a $35,000 reward and asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspected serial bank robber that the FBI dubbed the “respectful robber.” At that time, the Caucasian male bank robber was suspected of robbing banks at gunpoint in Luther, Michigan (Lake County in June of 2011), Wellston, Michigan (Manistee County in June of 2011), Pellston, Michigan (Emmet County November of 2011), and Croton, Michigan (Newaygo County in September of 2013).

In March, someone called the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office and said they believed they knew who this bank robber was. The person was interviewed and identified the suspect as Steven Timothy Snyder, 38, from Kingston, Michigan (which is in the thumb area). Newaygo County Sheriff’s Detectives and FBI Agents immediately began a thorough background and criminal history check and attempted to gain supporting evidence of the citizen’s information, including getting Snyder’s DNA to compare to the Michigan bank robberies where suspect DNA had been left behind.

Meanwhile, on March 24, an armed bank robbery occurred in Marinette County, Northern Wisconsin at the State Bank of Florence, in the small town of Wasaukee. The lone Caucasian male bank robber, armed with a semi-auto pistol, shot one round in to the ceiling of the bank, before stealing an employee’s vehicle to drive to where his getaway car was parked.

Police believe that citizen Thomas Christ came upon the robbery suspect and may have confronted him about parking his car on or near Christ’s property. Not long after the 911 call for the bank robbery in Wasaukee, there was a report of a male victim lying near his truck, who had been shot to death. The victim was identified as 59-year-old Thomas Christ and evidence later showed that Steven Timothy Snyder was responsible for both the bank robbery and the murder of Thomas Christ on March 24.

Within a couple of hours of this bank robbery, FBI agents from Michigan and Wisconsin networked and were attempting to locate Steven Timothy Snyder to see if he could be responsible for the bank robbery in Wasaukee. Investigators were able to determine what vehicle Snyder was driving and that he was in central Wisconsin, apparently driving southbound.  Detectives and FBI Agents determined that Snyder could be responsible for the robbery and murder in Wasaukee and decided to call the Wisconsin State Patrol to attempt a high-risk traffic stop on Snyder and his vehicle.

Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper, who was 21 years old at the time and on his first solo shift as a trooper, spotted the suspect vehicle going southbound on highway 41 north of Fond Du Lac. Trooper Casper began following the vehicle without his lights or siren on, while waiting for other patrol units to attempt the traffic stop. Before other units could join, Snyder did a quick U-turn, exited his car and began shooting at Trooper Casper in his patrol car, mortally wounding him. Trooper Casper exited his car and returned fire, hitting Snyder, who ran a short distance and died on scene.

DNA was obtained from Snyder and extensive follow-up was conducted to determine what other crimes he may have committed. On June 24, 2015 a meeting was held in Emmet County, Michigan, at the Pellston Regional Airport, where 19 Sheriffs, Detectives, and FBI agents from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio met and discussed all of their open bank robberies suspected to have been committed by Snyder.  So far, Steven Snyder has been linked through DNA, rental car records, hotel records, video surveillance, and/or method of operation to the following nine bank robberies in MI, WI, and Ohio:

1. June 3, 2011- Lake Osceola State Bank, Luther, MI (Lake County)

2. June 22, 2011- Lake Osceola State Bank, Wellston, MI (Manistee County)

3. November 16, 2011- Citizens National Bank, Pellston, MI (Emmet County)

4. September 3, 2013- Independent Bank, Croton, MI (Newaygo County)

5. November 26, 2013-National Bank of Commerce, Poplar, WI (Douglas County)

6. April 11, 2014- Dairy State Bank, Haugen, WI (Barron County)

7. August 6, 2014- Banner Bank, Hatley, WI (Marathon County)

8. March 4, 2015- Lebanon Citizens National Bank, Rochester, OH (Warren County)

9. March 24, 2015- State Bank of Florence, Wasaukee, WI (Marinette County)

The task force of law enforcement agencies that investigated the above listed Michigan bank robberies includes the FBI, Michigan State Police, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office, and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.



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Missing woman found

N-Missing-woman-Teresa-Curry-webA woman missing from her Alpine Township home near Comstock Park, since Friday, February 27, has returned home.

The Kent County Sheriff Department made contact with Teresa Lynn Curry, 44, on Monday, July 7. They said she left the State of Michigan and travelled to the state of New York and stayed in New York City. She just recently returned home and was with family. She reportedly left voluntarily and no foul play is involved.

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Three-vehicle crash injures two


A three-vehicle crash in Montcalm County involving a car, a pick up, and a semi, sent two people to the hospital Friday morning, July 10.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, Mark Steven Williams, 58, of Leroy, Mich., was traveling northbound on S. Sheridan Road (M66) about 3:42 p.m., in a 2004 Ford F350, while pulling a farm implement, and ran a red light at the intersection of M57 (Carson City Road). His vehicle struck a 2012 Volkswagon Jetta driven by Nichole Nielsen, 35, of Spring Lake, who was westbound on M57. The two vehicles then slid into a 2007 Kenworth semi, owned by J&H Oil, which was facing south on M66, and waiting to turn right on M57.

A passenger in the pickup, Rocky Allen Lockhart, 55, of Leroy, was taken by AeroMed to Butterworth Hospital for his injuries. Nielsen, the driver of the Jetta, was taken to Sheridan Hospital by Montcalm County EMS, with non-life threatening injuries.

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Woman charged in man’s death

April Edwards

April Edwards

A woman has been charged in the death of a man who was killed when she rolled her car last month in Algoma Township.

April Morning Edwards, 41, of Algoma Township, was allegedly intoxicated when the accident occurred about 8:19 p.m., Sunday June 28. She was driving on Summit, north of 14 Mile, in her Pontiac Sunfire, when the vehicle reportedly left the road, struck a tree, rolled back, then rolled over. She and her passenger, James Matthew Seibold, 42, of Grand Rapids, were trapped in the vehicle.

Seibold was pronounced dead at the scene. Edwards was transported to the hospital, with non-life threatening injuries.

Edwards was arrested and arraigned on charges of Operating While Intoxicated causing death;  operating on a suspended license causing death; and habitual offender, 4th notice. Bond was set at $250,000 cash or surety.

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Sgt. Kelley named Deputy of the Year


Sheriff Larry Stelma, Sgt. Jason Kelley (2014 Deputy of the Year–Law Enforcement) and Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. Courtesy photo from the KCSD.

Sheriff Larry Stelma, Sgt. Jason Kelley (2014 Deputy of the Year–Law Enforcement) and Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. Courtesy photo from the KCSD.

By Judy Reed

Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Cedar Springs Unit, was named 2014 Deputy of the Year—Law Enforcement, by the Kent County Sheriff Department. He was recognized in a special awards ceremony last Thursday, July 9.

“It’s a humbling experience,” remarked Kelley. “A lot of people are deserving of this, so I am humbled by it.”

According to info supplied by the Sheriff Department, Kelley began his career at the Kent County Sheriff Department as a County Patrol Officer in January 2003, and assigned to the Detective Bureau in September 2008. As a detective, he received commendations for his tenacity, investigative skills, and compassion dealing with robberies, an abduction, white collar crime, and death investigations.

In June 2013, he was promoted to County Police Sergeant within the Law Enforcement Division. Sgt. Kelley was assigned as the Central/North D squad supervisor in 2014.

“Sgt. Kelley’s attitude, work ethic and dedication to his job is impeccable,” wrote Sheriff Lawrence Stelma, in a news release about the award. “His positive leadership qualities are something we all strive for. He is personable with his officers and offers constant assistance and support while being highly effective.” He also noted that he is an effective communicator and is highly respected by his officers, fellow sergeants and command staff.

Last fall the Cedar Springs City Council voted to dissolve the Cedar Springs Police Department, and contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for law enforcement beginning in November 2014. Sgt. Kelley oversaw the transition and still supervises the unit.

“Due to his outstanding performance, enthusiasm and work ethic, Sgt. Kelley was selected to be the Cedar Springs Unit supervisor and was instrumental in making this ‘Change of Command’ transition a huge success,” wrote Stelma. “Sgt. Jason Kelley has exhibited qualities and standards of excellence well worthy of our praise. Along with your fellow officers, Sheriff Lawrence Stelma extends his personal gratitude to Jason for a job well done and congratulations on being named 2014 Deputy of the Year—Law Enforcement.”

Sgt. Kelley said that things have been going great in the Cedar Springs Unit. “All the officers continue to do a great job. The Cedar Springs officers (that transferred) do an outstanding job providing police services, and have been well received by other deputies in the department. Businesses and citizens have given us a lot of positive feedback,” he said. “We definitely appreciate the welcome we’ve received and have really enjoyed the transition.”

The deputies have been active at community events, and will be at the Library’s summer reading carnival August 5, at Morley Park, from 2-5 p.m., where kids can meet deputies and get some hands-on time with police equipment. “Kids can sit in cruisers, and anything that’s safe, they can touch,” explained Sgt. Kelley.

Several other people were also given awards the same night as Sgt. Kelley. Watch for those in next week’s Post.

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Post travels to visit Hometown Hero

N-Post-travels-Connecticut-BrooksThe Post recently traveled to Connecticut and Rhode Island with Rob and Julie Brooks, and their granddaughter Myla Johnson. The ship in the background is the retired submarine USS Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut.The trip was to visit their son, local hometown hero, Aaron Brooks. Aaron, a 2012 graduate of Cedar Springs, has been stationed in Connecticut for a little over two years, and is ranked as machinist mate second class. He is currently serving on the USS Toledo SSN 769. They are set to deploy this fall.

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Superhero scientist wows crowd


N-Library-program-Dr.-Zeemo2Over 200 people turned out to see scientist Dr. Zeemo, on Wednesday, July 8, at a family program for the Cedar Springs Library summer reading program, at the Middle School.

Using several volunteers from the audience, Dr. Zeemo astounded everyone with his yo-yo tricks. He even taught them about how kinetic energy, gravity, and centrifugal force make the tricks possible.

This program was one in a series of successful library programs brought to Cedar Springs for the Summer Reading Program. They scheduled 25 programs this summer for families, preschool, tweens, teens, and adults. Over 700 people registered for their summer reading program, and they are giving away lots of prizes, thanks to area sponsors.

Visit http://cedarspringslibrary.org for more info, or call 696-1910.

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Boneless chicken recalled

Check to see if you have this Meijer brand stuffed chicken kiev in your freezer or any labeled Barber Foods. They are under recall.

Check to see if you have this Meijer brand stuffed chicken kiev in your freezer or any labeled Barber Foods. They are under recall.

Check to see if you have this Meijer brand stuffed chicken cordon bleu in your freezer or any labeled Barber Foods. They are under recall.

Check to see if you have this Meijer brand stuffed chicken cordon bleu in your freezer or any labeled Barber Foods. They are under recall.

Two types of Meijer brand frozen stuffed chicken—Chicken Kiev and Cordon Bleu—are included in a class 1 recall by Barber Foods.

Barber Foods, a Portland, Maine establishment, is recalling approximately 1,707,494 pounds of frozen, raw stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced this week. The original announcement was on July 2, for 58,320 pounds, and more product was added this week.

The chicken products were produced between February 17, 2015 and May 20, 2015. The products include raw stuffed boneless chicken kiev, chicken cordon bleu, and some chicken tenders. For an entire list of products visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2015/recall-096-2015-release.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-276” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to retail locations nationwide and Canada.

FSIS was notified of a cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses on June 24, 2015. Working in conjunction with Minnesota State Departments of Health and Agriculture, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FSIS determined that there is a link between the frozen, raw, stuffed chicken products from Barber Foods and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological evidence and trace back investigations, six case-patients have been identified in Minnesota and Wisconsin with illness onset dates ranging from April 5, 2015 to June 23, 2015 that link to the specific Barber Foods products. FSIS continues to work with public health partners on this investigation.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some products may be in consumers’ freezers. Although the products subject to recall may appear to be cooked, these products are in fact uncooked (raw) and should be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. Particular attention needs to be paid to safely prepare and cook these raw poultry products to a temperature of 165° F checking at the center, the thickest part and the surface of the product.

These frozen, raw, stuffed chicken products were labeled with instructions identifying that the product was raw and included cooking instructions for preparation. Some case-patients reported following the cooking instructions on the label and using a food thermometer to confirm that the recommended temperature was achieved. Therefore, FSIS advises all consumers to treat these products like a raw chicken product. Hands and any surfaces, including surfaces that may have breading dislodged from the products, should be cleaned after contact with these raw products. Also, keep raw poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use one cutting board for raw poultry and a separate one for fresh produce and cooked foods.

Consumers with questions can contact the company directly at (844) 564-5555.

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Pastor Tom Holloway to say goodbye to Cedar Springs


Pastor Tom Holloway is known to some as the “rock & roll” preacher. He will be leaving at the end of the month to take over a church in South Carolina.

Pastor Tom Holloway is known to some as the “rock & roll” preacher. He will be leaving at the end of the month to take over a church in South Carolina.

The congregation of the Solon Center Wesleyan Church will bid their pastor, Rev. Tom Holloway, farewell at the end of the month. He and his family will be moving to South Carolina to take charge of another Wesleyan church in the North Myrtle Beach area.

Pastor Tom, with his wife Kim, daughter Taylor and sons Christian and Jackson came to Solon Center Wesleyan Church in 2007, when Pastor Tom was hired as a part time youth pastor and worship leader. Under his direction, the youth program flourished and the worship music became more contemporary in style. Each year he and the praise band would ride a float in the Red Flannel Parade, representing the church and playing their favorite songs. Over time, he fondly became known by some in the community as the rock & roll preacher.

When the opening became available in 2011, Pastor Tom became the lead pastor of the church. Since then the church has grown both numerically and spiritually under Pastor Tom’s guidance and loving care. His vision statement of  “Reaching Up, Reaching Out & Reaching In” has become a reality, as the church has worshipped freely, made its presence known in the community, and the spiritual lives of individuals have deepened in their love for God through his teaching.

Pastor Tom has been instrumental in the community on a personal level as well. Some years ago, he and fellow youth pastor C.J. Mauer had a vision to start a youth center in Cedar Springs. From their vision and efforts, En Gedi, meaning “a place to be refreshed,” became a reality and now provides students in 6th-12th grades a safe place to get away from the burdens of life and be re-charged and energized.  Pastor Tom acted as the first executive director for the center until becoming the lead pastor at the church. Pastor Craig Owens is now directing the center located at Red Hawk Elementary School, which meets after school Mondays through Thursdays.

Said Owens, “The En Gedi Youth Center is an amazing after-school program. I am sometimes given kudos for the work we do, but if our program is successful, it is because I stand on the shoulders of Tom Holloway. If it were not for his vision for this program, and his tireless effort to make it work, we wouldn’t have the life-changing program that we now have. We owe a huge debt to Pastor Tom’s vision for Cedar Springs.”

After this change Pastor Tom remained involved as a board member of En Gedi and continued to support the center through helping with fund raising efforts and Friday night 5th quarter events.

In addition, Pastor Tom has also worked over the past two years as an officer for the Community Building Development Team of Cedar Springs. The team is working to advance the construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs Community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial, and family/community events. Pastor Tom’s recent work primarily involved research regarding the design and construction of an amphitheater for the city.

CBDT president Kurt Mabie said, “Tom has a passion and love for this city.  He will be missed.”

He has also consistently been an active member of the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association, which meets monthly and organizes ecumenical gatherings such as the upcoming “UNITED” Community Worship Service which is planned for August 23 in Morley Park. Pastor Tom was always instrumental in leading the praise and worship portion of the service, organizing band members, vocalists, and equipment.

Brett DeGraaf, Vice Chairman of the board at Solon Center recently shared his thoughts. “Pastor Tom has truly been a blessing to Solon Center Wesleyan Church and the Cedar Springs community. Through his music and unique ministry style, he was able to grow our church family and build a spirit of serving outside of the church walls. It will be very sad to see him go but we all know that God has plans for him and for the future of Solon Center Wesleyan Church. We wish him all the best.”

Pastor Tom’s last Sunday at Solon Center Wesleyan will be July 26. The service will begin at 10 a.m. It will be the last time the congregation and guests will hear his encouraging words of “Go Be the Church!” at the end of the service. The church, friends, and family will send the Holloways on to their new destination in South Carolina, with a farewell party at 1 p.m. the same day. The invitation is open to anyone in the community who may wish to attend. The church is located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Road.

Pastor Tom’s last “From the Pulpit” article ran in last week’s issue of the Post. You can read it online at www.cedarspringspost.com.

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Fugitive arrested in Cedar Springs


Eric Louis Johnson

Eric Louis Johnson

By Judy Reed

A man sought by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was arrested Wednesday, July 15, at the corner of 18 Mile and N. Main Street in Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Kent County Sheriff Department, Cedar Springs Unit, the U. S. Marshals contacted them and told them they had a visual on the suspect and gave them a description of the vehicle.

“Deputy Potts conducted a traffic stop at 18 Mile and N. Main. The passenger in the vehicle was identified as Eric Louis Johnson, 51, and he was arrested without incident and lodged in the Kent County Correctional Facility on outstanding warrants,” said Kelley.

He is currently being held on a sex offender charge of failure to comply with reporting, and a failure to appear for another charge in Lake County. Bond was set at $5,325.

Johnson was convicted in 2002 of third degree criminal sexual conduct in 49th District Court in Big Rapids, and is on the sex offender registry for life. Under Michigan law, a Tier 3 sex offender must report his address to law enforcement four times a year. The last time he verified his whereabouts was in April 2013.

Johnson was one of three men profiled last month in a story on Fox 17. The story said the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force was asking for tips from the public to track the three men down. The story noted that Johnson’s criminal record included sexual assault, burglary, and resisting and obstructing police.

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