Home Chicago Press Releases 2011 Public’s Help Sought in Search for “Wheaton Bandit”
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Public’s Help Sought in Search for “Wheaton Bandit”

FBI Chicago May 24, 2011
  • Special Agent Garrett Croon (312) 829-1199

As the deadline to charge one of the most prolific serial bank robbers in Chicago area history approaches, due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is joined today by chiefs from six suburban police departments in asking for the public’s help in identifying the “Wheaton Bandit.” In making this appeal for help, Mr. Grant noted that a reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification and arrest of this individual.

The Wheaton Bandit, who was so named as seven of the banks he initially robbed were in the City of Wheaton, first struck in January of 2002 and continued robbing banks in the western suburbs until December of 2006. During that period, the Wheaton Bandit is suspected of as many as 16 armed takeover-style robberies of banks and credit unions in the western suburbs. No injuries were reported during any of the incidents.

The first major break in the investigation came in November of 2006, when a passerby is believed to have caught a glimpse of the Wheaton Bandit without his trademark ski mask pulled down over his face. This was just moments prior to the armed robbery of the Fifth Third Bank branch, located in Winfield. An artist rendition of the robber based on the witness account is contained on the attached wanted flyer.

More recently, a bank surveillance photo of a person of interest was discovered. This individual, who investigators would like to identify, entered the Mid America Bank branch in Glen Ellyn in late December of 2004. He was not a customer of the bank and did not transact any business while inside. However, the bank was robbed by the Wheaton Bandit just two weeks later and this individual appears to fit the known physical description of the robber. As such, anyone recognizing this individual, who is depicted on the attached “Seeking Information” flyer, is asked to call the FBI at (312) 421-6700.

Witnesses have described the “Wheaton Bandit as a white male, who at the time was between 25 - 35 years of age, 5’ 10”- 6’ 2” tall, medium build, with blue eyes. He has worn different clothing in each robbery and has always used a hood or ski mask to help conceal his identity. He is possibly left-handed and has been armed with a semi-automatic handgun during each of the robberies, which he has used to threaten bank employees and customers. He is also thought to have prior law enforcement or military training due to the way he handled the weapon.

This case is being investigated by a task force consisting of FBI special agents and detectives from the Carol Stream, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Wheaton, and Winfield Police Departments. The statute of limitations on bank robbery, which is a federal felony offense, is just five years. Given that the last robbery the Wheaton Bandit is suspected of committing was on December 7, 2006 at the Glen Ellyn Bank and Trust, he must be identified and charged by December 7 of this year.

A complete listing of all 16 robberies which the Wheaton Bandit is suspected of committing, along with additional information about other recent Chicago area bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available at the Bandit Tracker Chicago web site, www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of the below wanted flyers are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.

Chicago Area “Wheaton Bandit” Bank Robbery Suspect, Poster 1 of 2 (5/24/11)Chicago Area “Wheaton Bandit” Bank Robbery Suspect, Poster 2 of 2 (5/24/11)