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Career criminal sentenced for Kalamazoo bank robberies

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – A 73-year-old man who federal prosecutors call a ‘career criminal’, linked to bank robberies and violent crime, will be in his early 80’s before he ever has the chance to live life outside of a prison cell.

Simon Gutierrez, 73

Simon Gutierrez, 73

Simon S. Gutierrez, A.K.A. Simon St. John Gutierrez of Three Rivers, was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of armed credit union robbery and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He’ll also be under court supervision for 5 years after he’s released.  He’s also been ordered to pay restitution.

Prosecutors successfully tied Gutierrez to a pair of bank robberies in Kalamazoo that happened two years apart.

On January 25, 2013, Gutierrez stormed into the Fifth Third Bank in Kalamazoo armed with what appeared to be a revolver demanding money.  Investigators released surveillance images shortly after the crime, showing Gutierrez dressed in a navy blue stocking cap, green nylon zip-up jacket and black pants, describing the armed criminal as having ‘bad teeth’.  His white gloves also seen clutching the suspected revolver before grabbing cash and taking off.  Investigators say a red die pack that was placed in the money he stole exploded after he ran out.

On July 10, 2015, Gutierrez struck again, this time a Consumers Credit Union in Kalamazoo next door to the Fifth Third branch he robbed in 2013.  This time, Gutierrez walked in carrying a ‘Jimmy Johns’ box, pulling a pair of handguns from the box demanding money after pretending to deliver a lunch order.  Those handguns were later identified as pellet guns, but a search of his home following his arrest led to the recovery of a stolen revolver that matched the description of the weapon used in the 2013 robbery.

Prosecutors say Gutierrez’s criminal history dates back to the 1960’s, including other armed bank robbery convictions for crimes in Colorado and Illinois, where authorities described Gutierrez as “a cunning and dangerous man”.  Gutierrez served approximately 30 years in state and federal prison following the earlier crimes, and altogether has spent more than 40 years in custody.  He was last released in 2010 prior to the Kalamazoo crimes, arrest, and guilty pleas.

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