Home Chicago Press Releases 2009 Alert Bank Employee Helps Chicago Police Arrest Serial Robbery Suspect
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Alert Bank Employee Helps Chicago Police Arrest Serial Robbery Suspect

FBI Chicago January 27, 2009
  • Special Agent Garrett Croon (312) 829-1199

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Jody P. Weis, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD); and Thomas Dart, Cook County Sheriff, announced today the arrest of FIDEL BELMONTES, age 31, whose last known address was 4433 South Union in Chicago. BELMONTES was arrested Saturday afternoon, without incident, by CPD officers who responded to a suspicious individual call from employees of the North Community Bank branch, located at 1600 West Chicago Avenue.

BELMONTES was later turned over to members of the Chicago FBI's Violent Crime Task Force (VCTF) and was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one (1) count of Bank Robbery, which is a felony offense. The complaint charges BELMONTES with the November 14, 2008 robbery of the North Community Bank branch, located at 3401 North Western Avenue.

According to the complaint, BELMONTES entered the Western Avenue bank around 10:30 AM, approached a teller and handed her a note, announcing a robbery and demanding money. The note implied that BELMONTES was armed and threatened the teller with harm, if his demands were not met. After receiving approximately $1000 in cash, BELMONTES fled the bank on foot, disappearing into the passing crowd.

This past Saturday morning, BELMONTES is alleged to have entered the North Community Bank branch on Chicago Avenue and inquired about opening a new account. One of the bank employees that he spoke with recognized BELMONTES as the man who robbed the North Community Bank branch on Western Avenue in November and alerted the Chicago Police; however, BELMONTES left the bank before CPD Officers arrived. The responding CPD Officers, along with the bank employee, conducted a canvas of the area and spotted BELMONTES walking in the 1900 block of Chicago Avenue, at which time he was taken into custody. Upon returning to the Chicago Avenue branch with BELMONTES, a CPD Officer discovered a demand note on the floor near where BELMONTES had been sitting.

Subsequent investigation by the VCTF identified BELMONTES as a serial robber who had been dubbed the "Archer Heights Bandit" and who is believed responsible for the armed robbery of as many as twelve (12) other Chicago banks, dating to October of this year.

In announcing this arrest, Mr. Grant recognized both the Chicago Police Department for their prompt and professional response to an otherwise routine service call and the employees of the North Community Bank, whose keen observations helped lead to the identification and apprehension of a suspected serial criminal.

BELMONTES appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in Chicago, late yesterday, at which time he was formally charged. BELMONTES was ordered held without bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance, and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, BELMONTES faces a possible sentence of up to twenty (20) years incarceration.

The Chicago FBI's VCTF is comprised of FBI Special Agents, Detectives from the CPD and Investigators from the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of the criminal complaint filed in this case is available from the Chicago FBI's Press Office at (312) 829-1199.