I-Team: FBI intercepts Indiana, Illinois bank robberies on same day

May 10, 2013 8:32:09 PM PDT
What are the chances that two banks- one in Indiana, the other in Illinois -would both be under FBI surveillance when they're robbed on the same day? Federal officials call it a coincidence.

Surveillance teams were ready to roll when the suspects walked into two different banks on Friday, the most popular day for bank robberies. Both incidents led to a shootout with suspects.

The FBI intercepted alleged bank robbers in Richmond, Ill., before they got inside Associated Bank. At that same time 253 miles away in Plainfield, Indiana, the FBI intercepted bank robbers leaving the State Bank of Litzon. In both robberies, federal agents shot and killed one of the suspects. Despite the commonality, FBI officials said the robberies and the fatal conclusions were just coincidental.

An FBI map pinpointing bank robberies in the Midwest show what federal authorities are up against: More than 50 robberies in Chicago, and a sharp increase in bank heists in Indianapolis.

Authorities say many of the robberies are carried out by serial bank robbers, which allows federal agents to put surveillance teams on both suspects and potential targets. That paid off Friday.

The arrest of Jeremy Evans of Carol Stream is one example of the FBI's strategy. Known as the Ray Bandit because he favored Ray Ban sunglasses during his bank jobs, Evans allegedly held up 17 banks in Indiana, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The FBI says Evans also robbed banks in Iowa, Nebraska and California.

Evans is being held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

The most recent annual FBI data shows that there were more than 5,000 bank robberies across the country and that more than $38 million was stolen. Despite all the security alarms, surveillance cameras and sometimes armed guards, most of the stolen cash is not recovered. Of the $38 million, the FBI found only $8 million.

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