Michigan man suspected in Elkhart store robbery

ELKHART — A Michigan man is accused of robbing a check-cashing store in Elkhart last fall.

Brandon Joseph, 23, of Benton Harbor, is charged with two counts of robbery resulting in injury in court documents filed Wednesday. The Level 3 felony carries a punishment of up to 16 years in prison.

Authorities believe he was one of two men who robbed the store in September 2018. A DNA analysis allegedly placed him at the scene.

According to the affidavit seeking a warrant for Joseph's arrest:

Elkhart Police officers responded to the robbery report at Check Into Cash, 1530 Cassopolis St., on Sept. 1, 2018. The manager said two men entered the business wearing blue gloves.

He said they both jumped over the glass barrier, grabbed him and demanded money. One suspect's glove ripped during the robbery, the manager told police. 

The manager said he was grabbed and pushed to the ground, causing him pain. He eventually had to seek medical treatment.

A cashier who was in the store at the time told officers she tried to run for the door when the robbers came in. She said one of the men grabbed her by the collar and pulled her away from the door.

She said the man made her open her cash drawer and took the money, then pushed her to the ground and told her to keep her face down. She tried to get up while one of the robbers took the manager to the back room, but the other man pushed her down again and told her not to move.

The cashier said she began to have a hard time breathing. She also received a small cut from the physical force that was used on her.

She said she was in fear for her life during the robbery and had to quit working at the business.

The manager told police he opened the cash register and one of the men took all the money, then the robbers fled on foot. The robbers were said to have taken more than $2,000.

Officers recovered a piece of a latex glove inside the store, which the manager said was left by one of the men. They also collected surveillance footage showing the robbery taking place.

The piece of glove was analyzed by the Indiana State Police lab. DNA from the glove matched a record on file for Joseph.

Police contacted Joseph's parole officer in Michigan. She reported that he had recently absconded from parole.

A search warrant for Joseph's DNA was served in May, while he was incarcerated in Berrien County, Michigan. His DNA matched the sample taken from the piece of glove.

During an interview with police at the time, he said he had met an unknown man at a party in South Bend and they decided together to rob the Cassopolis Street business. Joseph said he needed the money because he had absconded from parole.

He allegedly admitted that they entered the store, jumped the protective barrier and robbed the employees of money. He refused to give the name of the other suspect.

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