FBI: Bank robbery suspect caught riding bike near his home

A man who wrapped his face in white tape and carried a cane when he robbed a bank in the North Center neighborhood Sunday was caught two hours later riding a bike near his home, according to the FBI.

Erwin Acox, 39, of the 5100 block of North Kimball Avenue, appeared in U.S. District Court Monday where he was ordered held after being charged in a criminal complaint with robbing a TCF Bank branch at 4250 North Lincoln Avenue, according to FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde.

Acox is scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday. If convicted,  Acox faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years’ incarceration, according to the FBI.

Earlier, the FBI linked the man who robbed this TCF to four other bank robberies committed by a bandit dubbed the “mummy bandit’’ but the agency is no longer linking the robberies on its public bank robbery website. An FBI spokeswoman would not say if Acox is suspected in any other robberies.

Acox entered the TCF Bank branch located inside the Jewel grocery store just after 10 a.m. on Sunday and approached a teller, according to the complaint. The teller was holding 20 $100 bills in her hand when Acox, with his face covered in white tape and walking with a limp while carrying a cane, reached across the counter and tried to grab the bills, the complaint said.

He was wearing a white and red cap, a burgundy coat with silky fabric and a logo “JW” on its left front side, a yellow hat, black gloves, blue jeans, and black shoes, the complaint said.

They struggled and he said to the teller in a deep voice: “Give me the money in your drawer,’’ and repeated it twice before she let go of the money. She gave him additional money from the drawer, which he placed in his pocket before walking out of the bank.  She activated the bank alarm.

FBI investigators gave a physical description of the robber to police and two officers conducted surveillance outside his home later the same day. The FBI also told the officers they had previously captured surveillance images of him riding a red and silver Schwinn bicycle and about 12:45 p.m. they spotted him riding a similar bike, the complaint said.

When they approached him and asked if he had any weapons, Acox said he had a knife in his back pocket and after they recovered one with a 3-inch blade, he was placed under arrest, the complaint said.

Officers recovered 19 $100 bills, 10 $20 bills and two $20, totaling $2,886 in his pocket. Coins in the amount of $19.52 were found in the same pocket, the complaint said.

A backpack containing black gloves and a $100 receipt from Dominick’s at 5223 N. Lincoln Ave. was also found on Acox and a CTA card which had been used shortly before the Sunday robbery by a man matching his description during the TCF robbery, the complaint said.

According to a police report, inside the backpack he also had 12 rolls of toilet paper from Whole Foods, a bottle of 75 South whiskey, a 6-pack of ginger ale, glucose vitamins, five brown envelopes, Famous Amos cookies, and a bottle of hot sauce.

A recent bank robber was dubbed the "mummy bandit" because he wrapped his face in gauze bandages or scarves during four robberies, the FBI said.

In each of his robberies, including two at the North Community Bank, 4701 N. Clark St., on Dec. 20 and Feb. 1, the robber has wrapped his face and carried something with him. Items he's carried, besides the green, stuffed toy moose, include a toy duck, a white plastic bucket and a box for a television wall mount, according to the FBI.

The same robber is also believed to be responsible for robberies at two other North Community Bank branches, at 1555 N. Damen Ave., on Feb. 22, and another at 2000 W. Division St. on March 5, according to the FBI.

rsobol@tribune.com

Twitter:@RosemarySobol1

lford@tribune.com

Twitter: @ltaford

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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