ANN ARBOR, MI – A man accused of robbing a cell phone store at gunpoint in downtown Ann Arbor now faces federal felony charges.
Six armed robbery charges against Deon Andrew Bell were dismissed Oct. 27 at the request of the Washtenaw County Attorney’s Office, court filings show.
“The case was dismissed because we determined, in coordination with our federal partners, that this is a case warranting federal charges,” Washtenaw County Attorney Eli Savit said on Tuesday, November 15.
Bell, 27, now faces charges each of robbery and carrying a firearm during a violent crime, according to an affidavit filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Related: Gunman robs a T-Mobile store in downtown Ann Arbor in the middle of the day
Police were called to the T-Mobile store at 200 E. Washington Street in downtown Ann Arbor just after 2:55 p.m. Monday, October 10, regarding a reported armed robbery that, according to the Ann Arbor Police Department had just taken place.
Employees reported a man went into the store, pulled out a pistol and ordered employees to fill his backpack with cellphones and cash, police said. The incident was also recorded by store surveillance.
Complying with the shooter’s demands, employees stuffed his bag with 13 electronic devices totaling $7,300 and an unspecified amount of cash from the register. The shooter then fled on foot, police said.
While loading the shooter’s bag, an employee slipped a decoy iPhone into the man’s pocket, which had a tracking device installed, according to the federal affidavit.
Police contacted T-Mobile’s asset protection division and were able to trace the phone’s location to a cellphone shop in Hamtramck, records show.
Investigators went to the store and found that the suspect had sold the stolen items to the store for a total of $3,000 before being told that one of the phones was a decoy, causing suspect Bell to panic and immediately fled the store, records show.
Using surveillance video from around the Hamtramck, police identify the fleeing man as Bell, who was later seen throwing several other stolen electronic devices into a dumpster.
Police obtained search warrants for Bell’s home and vehicle, where they found the clothing he wore during the robbery and several discarded T-Mobile boxes and bags.
According to the federal affidavit, Bell is currently under investigation by the ATF in an unrelated incident.
He is currently in prison awaiting his next court hearing, scheduled for December 6 before US District Judge Nancy Edmunds.
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