Police ID bank robber tied to nine robberies in three states

Submitted by the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office

NEWAYGO COUNTY — Police have identified the man responsible for several bank robberies in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, including the 2011 Lake-Osceola State Bank robbery in Luther.

Investigators have linked Steven Timothy Snyder, of Kingston, to nine bank robberies, including one in Croton and the Luther incident, according to a press release from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 24, a meeting took place at the Pellston Regional Airport in Emmet County, where 19 sheriffs, detectives and FBI agents from Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio met to discuss all of the open bank robberies they suspected Snyder committed.

So far, Snyder has been linked through DNA, rental car records, hotel records, video surveillance and/or method of operation to the following nine bank robberies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

On June 3, 2011, police believe Snyder robbed Lake-Osceola State Bank in Luther, in Lake County, before robbing a second Lake-Osceola State Bank on June 22, 2011, in Wellston, in Manistee County.

Snyder also is suspected of robbing Citizens National Bank on Nov. 16, 2011, in Pellston, in Emmet County, and the Independent Bank in Croton on Sept. 3, 2013, in Newaygo County.

In Wisconsin, he is suspected of robbing the National Bank of Commerce on Nov. 26, 2013, in Poplar; Dairy State Bank on April 11, 2014, in Haugen; and Banner Bank on Aug. 6, 2014, in Hatley.

This year, police believe Snyder robbed the Lebanon Citizens National Bank on March 4, in Rochester, Ohio, and the State Bank of Florence on March 24, in Wasaukee, Wis.

Police began investigating Snyder after a citizen called the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office in March 2015 with a tip identifying Snyder as the man pictured in a Jan. 21, 2014, request for information from the public. The January release announced a $35,000 reward for help identifying a suspected serial bank robber the FBI dubbed the “respectful robber.”

At that time, officers believed the same man was responsible for robbing banks in Luther, Wellston, Pellston and Croton.

After speaking with the citizen in March, Newaygo County detectives and FBI agents began a thorough background and criminal history check on Snyder as well as attempting to gain evidence to support the citizen’s information, including getting Snyder’s DNA to compare to Michigan bank robberies where suspect DNA had been left behind.

At the same time, investigators were working on background and DNA evidence, an armed bank robbery occurred on March 24, 2015, at the State Bank of Florence in Wasaukee, Wis. The lone male bank robber armed with a semi-automatic pistol shot one round in to the ceiling of the bank before stealing an employee’s vehicle to drive to where his getaway car was parked.

Within a couple of hours of the Wasaukee bank robbery, FBI agents from Michigan and Wisconsin networked and attempted to locate Snyder to see if he could be responsible.

Not long after the 911 call for the bank robbery, there was a report of a man lying near his truck who had been shot to death. The victim was identified as 59-year-old Thomas Christ. Police believe Christ came upon the robbery suspect and may have confronted him about parking his car on or near Christ’s property. Evidence later showed Snyder was responsible for both the bank robbery and Christ’s murder on March 24.

Investigators were able to determine what vehicle Snyder was driving and that he was in central Wisconsin, apparently driving southbound. Detectives and FBI agents determined Snyder could be responsible for the robbery and murder in Wasaukee and decided to call the Wisconsin State Patrol to attempt a high-risk traffic stop on Snyder and his vehicle.

Wisconsin State Trooper Trevor Casper, who was 21 years old at the time and on his first solo shift as a trooper, spotted the suspect vehicle going southbound on Highway 41 north of Fond Du Lac. Casper began following the vehicle without his lights or siren on, waiting for other patrol units to attempt the traffic stop. Before other units could join, Snyder did a quick U-turn, exited his car and began shooting at Casper within his patrol car, mortally wounding Casper. Casper exited his car and returned fire, hitting Snyder, who ran a short distance and died on-scene.

Investigators obtained DNA from Snyder and conducted extensive follow-up to determine what other crimes he may have committed. The law enforcement task force investigating the Michigan bank robberies included the FBI, Michigan State Police, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office.