With Friends Like This....

Accused two-time Phoenixville Bank robber duped friends into giving him a ride to his second heist, police say.

Accused two-time Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust robber Michael Scott Brown asked friends who had no idea what his plan was for a ride to the second of two armed robberies he stands accused of.

Brown, 23, of West Chester Pike in Upper Darby, Delaware County is being held on $250,000 cash bail at the Chester County Prison.  He faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for the two robberies. Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrest late Thursday afternoon.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, Brown asked two friends to give him a ride from Royersford to Phoenixville without telling the friends that he was planning to rob the Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust on Main Street.

According to investigators in the case, Brown asked the couple,  for a ride to Phoenixville on April 16, the day of the second of two robberies Brown is charged with.

In the affidavit of probable cause investigators outline what they believe happened on the day of the robbery, based on what the couple and others told authorities:

The couple "related in summary that they were together on a weekday morning in April, 2013 and picked Brown up at his residence in Royersford, PA.  The cojple noticed that Brown was wearing a heavy black jacket with a hood.  Brown was also wearing a red baseball cap and had the hood pulled over his head.  The couple recalled that it was warm and sunny that day and they questioned Brown about his choice of clothing.  The trio proceeded to drive to Poenixville and Brown asked the couple if they could stop at his mother's house so he could retrieve some money.  Brown directed them to the 200  block of Hall Street and asked them to pull over.  Brown then asked (the woman) if he could borrow the sunglasses she was wearing.  (The woman) gave Brown her sunglasses and Brown put the sunglasses on and exited the car.  Brown walked east on Hall Street toward Main Street. (The woman) described the sunglasses as black ladies style with large lenses.  A few minutes later, Brown returned to the car wearing sunglasses and the hood was still over his head. Brown seemed anxious and produced several hundred dollars in cash and proceeded to count the money in the back seat while they were driving.  (The woman) drove directly to Rent-A-Center in Phoenixville and Brown waited in the car while (the couple) made a payment on a recent rental.  The trio then drive to Philadelphia together.
A few days later (the man who had given Brown the ride to Phoeniville) received a text message on his mobile telephone from Michael Brown.  The text message included a photo of a black revolver with a white grip and Brown asked (the man) if her knew anyone who wanted to buy a gun."

Investigators told a judge in the case that the couple's story checked out and that Brown does not have a valid license to carry a concealed firearm.  Police showed the couple video of the bank robbery and the pair confirmed that the robber was wearing the same clothing on the day they gave him a ride to Phoenixville and that the gun looked like the one in the text message that the man received from Brown.

What led Police to the couple in the first place?
A chance job interview at a restaurant in Phoenixville turned out to be a key element that broke the case.  According to court documents, Brown used to work for the unnamed restaurant. The man who gave Brown a ride to Phoenixville told the job interviewer at the restaurant that he was a long time friend of Brown's.  The man didn't know that the restaurant owner had seen Brown's photo on a wanted poster.  That started a conversation between the man and the restaurant owner about the day the man and his girlfriend gave Brown a ride to Phoenixville. The conversation led the restaurant owner to contact police with a lead about the possible connection to the robbery.  From that call police contacted the man and his girlfriend, which ultimately led to Brown's capture.


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