The cases of all three defendants have been bound over to a federal grand jury.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A federal magistrate has called Michael T. Green "a danger to the community" and ordered that he be detained pending the resolution of the case accusing him and two other men of stealing $900,000 from a Loomis Fargo van.
Green, who has no criminal record, drove the van for the company.
"He did plan this entire thing and recruited the other two to assist him," said U.S. Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert.
"I consider armed robbery an act of violence, and that's what we have here. ... There's a danger involved any time you have guns. Fortunately, nobody got killed here."
Green, 24, of Woodhurst Drive, Austintown, appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court. The FBI says he was involved in the theft last Wednesday of the van from the lot of the McDonald's restaurant at 900 E. Western Reserve Road near Interstate 680 in Boardman.
A second Loomis Fargo worker, Green's partner, told investigators a gun was pointed at him during the robbery and that his eyes, hands and ankles were wrapped with duct tape, said Bonnie Rutherford, an FBI special agent.
Green first told Rutherford that he was a victim with his partner during the crime, but later admitted that he planned the robbery with the two other men.
After a preliminary examination, Limbert ordered that Green's case on armed bank robbery charges be bound over to a federal grand jury.
Limbert also bound over Anthony M. Simmons, 34, of Mistletoe Avenue, and Charles K. Anderson, 44, of Griffith Street, on armed bank robbery charges. He further ordered that the men be held pending resolution of their cases. They are now in Mahoning County Jail.
About $900,000 belonging to the PNC Bank in Pittsburgh was stolen, Rutherford said, with $100,000 remaining in the van. The money was to be delivered to automated teller machines owned by the bank.
Rutherford testified that the three men had started discussing the robbery seriously one to two weeks earlier. On the Tuesday night before the theft, they met at Simmons' home and went over the details. Simmons also has admitted his role to federal authorities.
Simmons is a longtime friend of Green's, Rutherford said. Anderson is his stepfather.
Green and his partner, Henry Tomidajewicz, were first interviewed by Rutherford at the Loomis Fargo site on Bissell Avenue in Youngstown shortly after the robbery.
Tomidajewicz told investigators he believed he was going to die and told Green, "He's gonna kill us. He's gonna shoot us in the head. We're going to die," Rutherford testified.
He told investigators that the gun pointed at him looked like the revolver issued to Green by Loomis Fargo.
Defense attorneys requested that Limbert dismiss the charges against their clients.
David Betras, Green's attorney, had argued that Rutherford had testified that she had no specific knowledge that the PNC Bank was federally insured. He argued that lack of that evidence means that the crime is not a federal offense.
Anderson's attorney, James Gentile, argued that his client was only implicated by the other two men.
Simmons' attorney, Sonja C. Rowan, argued that an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by Rutherford never mentioned that Tomidajewicz saw a gun. It also did not mention that his ankles were bound.
The lawyers also argued that their clients should be released with restrictions pending trial.
On the day of the robbery, Green and Tomidajewicz had made their regular morning stop at McDonald's when the robbery occurred, Rutherford testified.
She said Green first told her he was pushed into the driver side of the van at gunpoint and forced to lay his head on Tomidajewicz's lap and to tape his partner's eyes, hands and ankles and remove his gun belt. He later admitted to being in on the plan. Simmons admitted he was the one who pushed Green into the van.
Simmons drove the van to a secluded area in Youngstown, where money was transferred from the van into Simmons' Ford Expedition, driven by Anderson, Rutherford said.
The Expedition was traced to Simmons' Mistletoe Avenue home after a Boardman police officer noticed it parked next to the van in the McDonald's lot and took down its license plate number.
Simmons allowed police to search his home and told them two guns were in the basement, Rutherford testified. They found the two handguns and 12 canvas bags containing cash that belonged to the PNC Bank ATM shipment.
The two guns were the revolver issued to Green by Loomis Fargo and Tomidajewicz's personal handgun, Rutherford said.
All but $2,550 of the stolen money was recovered, Rutherford said.