Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
It was a normal Friday. As usual I awoke at 4 a.m., ran out the door and headed to the office. There I loaded up my vehicle with newspapers and began delivering in Clare. After delivery I came back and did some bookkeeping then headed home to Harrison. It was about 2 p.m.
I was a little tired, and was about to lie down for a nap, when the phone rang. The Chemical Bank branch in downtown Harrison was being robbed. I didn’t consider myself an ambulance chaser, and the nap sounded so good, but this was too good to pass up. I asked my wife to ride shotgun with camera in tow and we headed to downtown Harrison.
The site was surreal. I had never seen so many police cruisers. The Sheriff’s Department, the state police, Clare City cops (at least those that were home and not in England) and FBI. The robber, Colt Cole of Harrison had demanded cash from a teller. If he didn’t get it, he was going to go to one of the nearby schools and shoot students, so he said.
Immediately the schools were placed on lockdown. At Larson Elementary students were escorted to the bathroom, away from windows, where they hid, for several minutes. Cadaver dogs were employed, as police went door-to-door in the immediate area, looking for Cole.
One of my first thoughts was jeez, this was homecoming. With the school on lockdown the pep assembly and parade, and possibly the game, were in jeopardy. What a shame that would be for the students who were looking so forward to the pomp and circumstance.
After getting several nice pictures, and assuming Cole was long gone, we went back home. I was about to lay down for that delayed nap when the phone rang again. “Mike, there is a bunch of commotion in front of Harrison Powersports. Cops are everywhere. I think it’s related to the bank robbery. Oh my God, a shot was just fired” said the informant.
So Teresa and I climbed in to the vehicle once more and head to the north end of town. Sure enough, police were everywhere, and we soon learned they had two suspects in custody. Cole, had a female accomplice- jeez, a modern day version of Bonnie and Clyde, although Faye Dunaway (who played Bonnie in the movie) was 1000 percent prettier than this Bonnie, and ugly 50-something from Cadillac.
This Bonnie and Clyde robbed a second Chemical Bank in Harrison (and oh by the way their first robbery was earlier in the day at a credit union in Cadillac). Cops caught up with them about a mile north on Clare Avenue, when one sharpshooter shot a hole in a tire, causing the getaway vehicle to swerve and come to a halt. The two were apprehended without any more shots fired.
I don’t know whether to call it stupidity or simply greed. This Bonnie and Clyde had concluded a successful robbery in Cadillac, where they had gotten away with substantial cash. They came to Harrison and robbed the downtown Chemical Bank, where they again successfully exited with cash. Why they would try to rob a third bank is beyond me. Maybe they were shooting for a Guinness Book of World Records. Three banks in one day has got to be some kind of record.
Well they will have plenty of time to reflect on it in the Clare County jail. Cole was slapped with a one million dollar cash bond. His accomplice got a $500,000 bond. By all accounts, the various police agencies performed admirably in capturing these two. School officials were very decisive and making the proper decisions to keep our students safe. And all the homecoming festivities went on without a hitch, with the exception of the football game, which Harrison lost.
And the nap I so desired- let’s just say there’s always next week. Sleep is overrated, anyways.