Grimsby bank bandit sentenced to 4.5 years in jail

Surveillance image of two men exiting a Grimsby bank during a robbery Image source: Niagara Regional Police

An Etobicoke man linked with a string of bank robberies, including one in Grimsby, has been sentenced to four-and-half years in jail.

Michael Christopher, of Etobicoke, was sentenced in Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa on four counts of robbery and a single count of wearing a disguise. He received four and a half years in prison for his involvement in a string of bank robberies, including a CIBC bank branch in Grimsby in 2019.

In the winter and spring of 2019, Christopher, who was then 21, along with two 16-year-old men from Brampton and Mississauga, committed six bank robberies in six different cities. More than $104,000 in cash was stolen.

The first robbery occurred on Feb. 4, 2019, at a Scotiabank in Hamilton. A subsequent robbery took place 23 days later on Feb. 27 at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on Grimsby’s Main Street strip.

Grimsby bank robbery map
Map of events relating to Feb. 2019 Grimsby bank robbery. Source: Google Maps

The thieves obtained money from the bank and then fled the scene by car. The car later crashed on Queen Elizabeth Way at Casablanca Boulevard. The driver and passengers were picked up by an unsuspecting motorist after the crash, allowing the bandits to evade Niagara Regional Police.

The three men were eventually arrested and linked by investigators to a series of other robberies in Ajax, Vaughn, Kitchener, Barrie, and Hamilton.

During the trial, several employees and bank customers submitted impact statements describing how the robberies affected their lives. For many, the experience brought fear, uncertainty, and trauma to their lives that they still deal with today.

The court also heard from Christopher’s friends and family. He was involved in the church, participated in four missionary trips, and was described as a model employee by his boss. The judge expressed disbelief that such a young individual with so much potential would get himself involved in these sorts of serious crimes.

The two other men involved in the robberies were sentenced before Christopher. One man was sentenced to 10 months of open custody and five months of community supervision. The other was sentenced to eight months of open custody and four months of community supervision.