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Stolen Gun Connects Three Hoosier Heists

John S. Burnett, Associate Editor

A handgun stolen from a bank security guard on November 8 may prove to be key evidence linking at least three bank Indiana bank robberies.

On Monday, December 10, three armed men leaped over the teller counters at a First Midwest Bank branch just outside Gary, Indiana, grabbed at least one bag of cash, and fled the scene. The action repeated events of November 8 and 9, when armed robbers vaulted teller counters at Harris Bank in Miller, and Citizens Financial Services in Munster, both in Indiana. Witness descriptions of a handgun seen at the First Midwest holdup matched that of a gun taken from a Harris Bank guard on November 8. In all three events, surveillance camera recordings show a single individual who appears to be an "advance scout" entering the bank a few minutes before the robbery, looking around, and leaving without conducting any business.

A dye pack included with the cash taken from First Midwest may have helped the FBI-led Gang Response Investigative Team identify four suspects arrested early Tuesday morning, December 11. Police found a car, believed to be the getaway vehicle, burning in an alleyway along the escape route witnesses said the suspects had taken. Authorities believe the exploding dye pack may have started the fire. The dye would likely have splattered not only the cash -- some of which was tossed from the vehicle and later recovered -- but also the robbers' clothes and bodies.

News sources report that the four suspects, and a fifth still at large, will be charged initially with the First Midwest holdup. As the investigation proceeds, charges could be expanded to include the early November heists, and possibly others in Northwest Indiana.

First published on BankersOnline.com 12/18/2007

First published on 12/18/2007

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