'Beach Bum Bandit' confesses to 9 bank heists

Police say he was aka the 'Bullet Proof Bandit'
August 12, 2009 A northwest suburban man was both the 'Beach Bum Bandit' and the 'Bullet Proof Bandit,' according to police.

William F. Wohlers, 30, of Buffalo Grove, was charged Wednesday with the stick-up of a Rolling Meadows bank and has admitted eight other bank robberies in the Chicago area since March, according to police.

For now Wohlers faces one count of armed bank robbery for the Tuesday morning heist of MB Financial Bank in Rolling Meadows but additional charges are expected to be lodged against him.

The ABC7 I-Team has learned that in Wohlers' car at the time of his arrest police say they found cash from the bank, clothing worn during the Tuesday robbery and the Glock pistol waved at bank employees.

Federal agents feared there were two robbers pulling bank jobs in the northwest suburbs, the 'Beach Bum Bandit' who appeared as though he was dressed for the Oak St. Beach and the 'Bullet Proof Bandit' who wore body armor.

Both nicknamed bandits had a history of hitting banks twice, according to FBI special Agent Virginia Wright.

When Wohlers was arrested, an investigative report obtained by the I-Team says that he "admitted" to this week's robbery "in addition to 8 other robberies in the Chicagoland area." They are:

-A previous MB Financial Bank/Rolling Meadows robbery on June 4.

-Mutual Bank in Roselle on May 8 and May 22.

-North Community Bank at 3420 N. Clark in Chicago on March 27 and April 4.

-The Edens Bank in Skokie on April 17 and July 1.

In Tuesday morning's stick-up, witnesses told detectives they saw the robber flee on a black mountain bike. An Arlington Heights police officer on patrol spotted a red Ford pickup with a black bike in the back.

Responding officers then noticed a bag and large amount of loose cash on the passenger seat of the pickup. Officers entered the gas station, causing Wohlers to attempt to flee out the back but he was quickly apprehended.

Wohlers is at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago and has a court appearance on Friday afternoon.

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