A federal plea has been withdrawn by a Howell man in connection with three bank robberies.

35-year-old Kenneth Kniivila had been set to enter a plea today in U.S. District Court in Detroit to a single count of bank robbery after reaching a deal earlier this year to drop a second count in exchange for a plea. But court records indicate he withdrew his plea in court instead.

Authorities say Kniivila admitted that he robbed the Bank of America on Grand River in Genoa Township on January 11th, followed by two more bank robberies on January 16th in Toledo and Monroe. After surveillance photos went public, law enforcement was able to identify Kniivila as the primary suspect. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office took him into custody without incident and a vehicle search turned up various items including four grams of suspected cocaine, two black semi-automatic pellet guns, money and green canvas bags.

The Sheriff’s Office and the FBI interviewed Kniivila, who waived his Miranda rights and admitted to the three robberies. He told authorities he “lost his marbles” on the 16th and drove around Toledo looking for a bank to rob.

Under the plea deal, Kniivila had faced a maximum of just under six years in prison and restitution of $6,799, the total amount he made from the robberies. Without a plea deal, he could face up to 25 years in prison. New court dates have yet to be set. (JK)