It began in a Lansing alley, detectives say, at 11:40 p.m. Friday. A man standing behind an East Michigan Avenue bar making a phone call was approached by two men holding guns.
Then, at 12:11 a.m. Saturday morning, a woman walking out of a bar in Holt -- again approached by two men.
"[They] put a gun into her face and demanded money," East Lansing Det. Dan DeKorte said.
At 12:34 a.m., DeKorte says a woman walking into her Lansing home in the 3500 block of Harold Street was held up at gunpoint.
1:17 a.m.: He says an MSU student coming home to his apartment was held up. Even after he gave up his wallet and backpack, detectives say one of the suspects pistol-whipped him.
And at 1:58 a.m., police say two men walked into the Residence Inn and held up the clerk.
"For some unknown reason, again, they punched him in the face," DeKorte said.
Investigators say a traffic stop finally ended the string of robberies. After 2 a.m., a Michigan State University officer pulled over a car. THe men inside matched the descriptions of the suspects.
When the car was searched, police say they found all the stolen wallets and the "gun" police say the suspects used. Turns out: It wasn't real.
"At night, the victims couldn't tell," DeKorte said. "They were in fear of their lives. They thought it was real."
In court Monday, the men charged with five counts of armed robbery didn't say much.
"It's more to it," 18-year-old Gregory Cole told the judge. Cole and 17-year-old Cyrus Beamon were denied bail.
Tony Morgan, 22, the man detectives say drove the car but didn't approach any of the victims, was released on $5,000 bond. His parents say Morgan had learning disabilities and was taken advantage of.
In court, the detective in the case said he agrees.
"He basically got caught up in the wrong situation," DeKorte said.
All three are also charged with criminal enterprise. All are set to appear in court next week.