Benzonia Man Facing Charges for Empire Bank Armed Robbery

A Benzonia man accused of stealing a car in Glen Arbor will now be charged with armed robbery of a bank.

Wednesday morning, the Leelanau County Prosecutor authorized new charges against William Minore.

Minore was originally arrested and charged in September with stealing a car in Glen Arbor.

Now he’ll also face charges for robbing the Huntington Bank in Empire with a gun.

At first, investigators tied him to the car theft, but couldn’t prove he also robbed the bank.

Minore is also at the center of two other armed robbery investigations in Benzie County.

The Honor Bank in Lake Ann was robbed twice and there are many similarities between those and the Empire bank robbery.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have more details on how investigators connected Minore to the Empire bank robbery.

“We kept waiting,” says JoAnne Beare. “We thought they had the guy they just needed to cross the T’s and dot the I’s and get him, and I’m glad that this is happening.”

A sigh of relief for many in the Village of Empire knowing William Minore will be charged with robbing the Huntington Bank.

“It upset everybody. We have a very special little village here and we felt violated, absolutely,” Beare says. “And it seemed very similar to what had been happening in other places.”

For nearly three months, the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office, along with several other agencies, worked to connect Minore to the robbery.

“Where we have very good video evidence of the individual stealing the car, we wanted to put some more evidence together as far as interviews with people and some voice over recognition process that we do,” says Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich. “We feel very comfortable that we have the right individual at this time.”

Sheriff Borkovich says the 911 tapes were key to his investigation, along with surveillance video. Both gave investigators the evidence they needed.

“If we are able to solve the crime here in Leelanau I think it will shed light on crimes elsewhere,” says Sheriff Borkovich.

Minore will officially be charged in court Thursday.

He is also facing charges in Grand Traverse County for the possession of stun guns police found when they initially arrested Minore, and charges of possession of marijuana and maintaining a drug house in Benzie County.

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