(La Porte County, IN) - A New Buffalo man previously held in Michigan has been returned to Indiana to face allegations that he held up a bank in Michigan City.
Ryan James, 43, was being held Tuesday in the LaPorte County Jail on a $15,000 bond on a Level 5 Felony charge of Robbery. He appeared for his initial hearing on December 30th in LaPorte Circuit Court where a jury trial was scheduled for December 11. A customary plea of not guilty was entered by the court on behalf of the defendant, who also was appointed a public defender after a judge ruled he was unable to afford private legal counsel.
James allegedly robbed First Source Bank in the 3900 block of Franklin Street on December 15th, wearing a surgical-type mask when he slipped a note to a teller demanding money and claiming to have a gun.
James fled with about $4,000 in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle later spotted by a Pokagon Tribal Police officer parked outside Judy’s Motel on U.S. 12 just west of the New Buffalo city limits. The motel was placed under surveillance while police and prosecutors gathered evidence to present to a judge for an arrest warrant.
During that period of time, James had a pizza delivered to his motel room and paid the tab with the stolen money based on the serial numbers on the bills matching the currency taken from the bank, according to court documents.
The arrest warrant was issued about three hours later and James was taken into custody without incident. He was housed in the Berrien County Jail for about two weeks until the process required for transferring an offender to another jurisdiction to face charges was completed.
Police said James confessed to the robbery and stated he did not have a gun during the heist.