Reward offered in suburban bank robberies

February 19, 2009 3:14:48 PM PST
The gang of thieves responsible for a pair of bold bank robberies in the Chicago suburbs this week is still on the loose. SLIDESHOW: Bank robbery surveillance images

So far, there are no suspects and no arrests in connection with the robbery of Suburban Bank and Trust and a Chase Bank branch in Skokie.

Thursday afternoon, FBI agents working the case say that they have managed to look at bank surveillance video and managed to get some decent evidence from it. What they're hoping for now is that it might help them catch these criminals.

It may be the break investigators are hoping for: An image of the face of a member of a bank robbery crew before he and four others are suspected of holding up two suburban banks on the same day.

"We do have an image of his face, although it's not what I would call portrait quality. If you know this person and you see the photo you're going to recognize him," said Ross Rice, FBI special agent.

Authorities say it was around 1:30 Monday afternoon when the thieves struck their first target, Suburban Bank and Trust. In a brazen display, the men, wearing ski masks and clad in dark clothing, burst into the Oak Lawn bank branch waving handguns.

Almost three hours later, the FBI says, the suspects pulled off another bank heist. This time it was at a Chase Bank branch 30 miles away in Skokie. Witnesses tell police of a similar chain of events much like the Oak Lawn bank customers and employees.

"I'm glad we weren't in there. It would be a lot more scary than staying out here and seeing them. But I was first to call them. It was scary," said Melanie Naumiak, bank customer.

Authorities say, even though the robbers attempted to hide their identities, it appears the thieves in the two robberies are wearing the same clothes. Investigators say that, along with the way they robbed the banks, just might give them away.

"We're hopeful that someone will recognize a coat, one of the robbers worry what I would characterize as a distinctive pair of work boots. The backpacks are unique," said Rice.

Investigators reminding the public that these bank robbers are considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Chicago FBI at (312) 829-1199.