The Journal Gazette
Saturday, January 04, 2020 1:00 am

Man admits robberies of credit union

Could get 12 years in plea deal

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man admitted to robbing a northeast-side credit union twice in a week. 

Michael D. Coates, 59, pleaded guilty Friday in Allen Superior Court to two counts of robbery. He also pleaded guilty to burglary in a separate, unrelated case. 

A plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of up to 12 years. 

Police said he robbed the Three Rivers Federal Credit Union Branch on YMCA Drive, near St. Joe Center and Maplecrest roads, Aug. 1 and 6. In both cases, investigators said he demanded money from a teller and left with cash. 

In the other case, a man told police Coates entered his home July 31 through an unlocked door and tried to take two guns and a wallet before asking for help. 

Coates could be sentenced to up to six years behind bars for the burglary, according to an agreement with prosecutors.

A sentencing hearing for both cases is scheduled Jan. 31. 

He walked into the credit union about 3 miles from his Pumpkin Lane home around 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1 and handed the teller a note, a probable cause affidavit alleges. 

“Give me $2,500, don't say anything to anybody else, I am armed,” the note said. 

Five days later, police said Coates went to the same spot, walked up to a teller and said, “Put a grand up here,” while tapping the counter with a finger.

Investigators had released a surveillance photo showing a man in his 50s or 60s with red hair leaving the credit union after the earlier robbery 

“The ... teller stated that (due) to the subject looking just like the suspect in the photo and the way he demanded the money he was in fear and started counting out $1,000,” Tad Davis of the Fort Wayne Police Department wrote in the affidavit. “As he did this (Coates) stated, 'I was here last week.'”

Coates' son called police Aug. 2 to say his father was the man in the photo.

Coates was arrested at a truck stop in Ohio less than an hour after the second robbery.

Police found $970 in his pocket.

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