Bank robbery suspect captured by BBQ customer appears in court

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A bank robbery suspect arrested during a police chase appeared in court Wednesday. (WLS)

A bank robbery suspect arrested during a police chase appeared in court Wednesday.

Federal authorities say he's wanted for carrying out a string of heists in the Chicago area in a short period of time.

Colby Bell was taken into custody less than an hour after a TCF Bank in Little Village was robbed. He was in federal court Wednesday, where he was formally charged with robbing the bank, a crime that led to tense moments when Bell tried to get away from police.

The chase that went from the Southwest Side into the suburbs and back.

At one point, it reached a high rate of speed on I-55. It ended shortly after the suspect's car clipped Richard Umstead's semi.

"He comes flying in here, 45 mph, ran into truck," said Umstead. "Took the bumper and everything."

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Bell, 39, was out on parole from Sheridan Correctional Facility. He has previous armed robbery and battery convictions.

Following Tuesday's arrest, federal authorities say Bell admitted to robbing the TCF after being shown surveillance pictures of himself and a handwritten note demanding money that was given to a teller.

They say Bell then admitted to robbing five other banks in the Chicago area - all incidents that took place last month.

Bell's arrest was a team effort. A customer of a barbeque restaurant where the chase ended saw him trying to climb the fence and helped restrain him until police arrived.

"Our customer dragged him down, hit him, and before you know it, all the police officers came and put him down," said Lori Grzesiak, BBQ Patio.

Bell was not released on bond. He is in the custody of federal authorities.

There was no word yet if he faces additional charges related to the other bank robberies.

Related Topics:
newsbank robberypolice chaseBBQChicago - Little Village
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