April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Federal charges in bank robberies

LORAIN — A Lorain man who allegedly walked into a local bank Aug. 6 and robbed it of about $2,000 is in federal custody facing three counts of federal unarmed bank robbery after the FBI blamed him for that robbery and for two other bank robberies in Cleveland two days earlier, a U.S. District Court affidavit said.

Michael E. Sogan, 52, appeared Monday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to answer the charges. He was appointed a public defender and turned over to the U.S. Marshal’s, a court spokesman said. Another hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, during which the court will determine if Sogan will receive a bond.

The U.S. Marshals Service will determine where Sogan is housed pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Sogan was picked up based on surveillance video taken inside the banks at the time of each robbery, the affidavit said. After his arrest, he admitted to police he was responsible and also signed each photo, indicating he was the man pictured, authorities said.
The first bank robbery happened about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4 when Sogan is accused of walking into the Dollar Bank in Brooklyn and ordering a female teller “give me your money.” He had one hand on his waist and the other on the counter, leaving the teller to fear he may have a weapon, the affidavit said. He walked out with about $1,000 and got into a small blue car, authorities said.

A similar scenario played out later that day at the U.S. Bank, located inside the Giant Eagle on Lorain Road in Cleveland, and again Aug. 6 at the Fairless Drive Chase Bank in Lorain, said Scott Wilson, spokesman with the FBI.

Bank robbery is a federal offense because banks are federally insured. The crime carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison for an unarmed bank robbery, authorities said. The aggravated robbery charge originally filed a day after the Lorain bank robbery by Lorain police has been dismissed to allow the case to be handled by federal authorities, court records show.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.