OTISCO TOWNSHIP, MI – On January 21st, 2015 at 12:14pm, Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the Burger King on M-44 west of Belding in Otisco Township on the report of an Armed Robbery.
Dispatch indicated that a white male subject wearing a tan Carhart coat, and a brown Carhart hat with eye-holes cut in it had implied that he had a firearm to a clerk, and ordered her to give the contents of her cash drawer to him.
The clerk complied with his demands, and the subject fled out the door on the west side of the restaurant. The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office K9 team, Deputy Dion Sower and K9 Dinar, tracked the suspect west to a point where it appeared he had entered a vehicle. Detectives processed the scene for Evidence.
With the help of citizen tips, the Sheriff’s Office was able to locate a 28 year old Ionia female who had reportedly driven the car the suspect had fled the scene in.
The woman told Detectives she was offered cash for a car ride to Grand Rapids prior to the Robbery. The woman was reportedly completely unaware the Armed Robbery had occurred at the Burger King.
While skeptical of the woman’s claims of being unaware of the situation, Detectives reviewed several cell phone text messages the female had shared with her mother and the suspect after the robbery had occurred.
Detectives believe she was completely unaware of the situation until she had been told later about the robbery by her mother. The woman is cooperating completely with the investigation, and is not considered a suspect at this time.
The Sheriff’s Office was also able to speak with the suspect’s mother and step-father, who identified him as Patrick Michael O’Connell, 26-years-old, of Belding.
A later search of the suspect’s residence recovered clothing worn in the robbery; including the coat, the hat worn as a mask, and boots the subject was wearing.
The Sheriff’s Office investigators learned from O’Connell’s parents that he had left the home and was told he was working with a man plowing snow in the Grand Rapids area.
Detectives were able to contact the man via his cell phone, who told Detectives that he was with the suspect in the same plow truck during that phone call.
He worked with Detectives by providing information on his location, and assisted in bringing the suspect to a known point where Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives would be waiting to apprehend him from the vehicle without tipping the suspect off that he was on the phone with law enforcement.
At approximately 10:15pm, the Sheriff’s Office was able to locate the vehicle that the suspect O’Connell was the passenger in on Foreman Rd at Cumberland Drive in Vergennes Township of Kent County.
Upon reaching the intersection and seeing the police vehicles traveling south towards the truck, O’Connell got out of the passenger side of the truck and fled south across the road.
Ionia Sheriff’s Deputies, Detectives, and K9 Dinar pursued the suspect into the wooded marsh area for approximately ¼ to ½ mile. K9 Dinar was able to catch up with O’Connell and corner him in the marsh. K9 Dinar held O’Connell in the location without physically contacting him long enough for his partners to arrive and apprehend O’Connell.
The suspect Patrick O’Connell was transported and lodged at the Ionia County Jail.
He was arraigned on January 22nd, 2015 by the 64A District Court on 1 count of Armed Robbery, with a $100,000 bond.
The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate this case, but obtaining narcotics seems to be a primary motive for committing the robbery.
Anyone with any further information is asked to contact the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office at (616)-527 5737.
The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the citizens who offered information and helped to solve this crime.