A serial bank robber responsible for more than a dozen bank robberies spanning seven states, including two in the metro-east, is now behind bars, according to FBI officials.
The robber dubbed the "Ray Bandit" for his tendency to wear Ray Ban-type sunglasses was identified as Jeremy Evans of Carol Stream in DuPage County.
Evans was taken into custody last week by Elgin police after allegedly robbing the Old Second National Bank in Elgin, according to the FBI. He is currently being held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
The FBI announced Monday that Evans is believed to be responsible for 17 bank robberies over a period of six months in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, California and Virginia.
The "Ray Bandit" allegedly robbed two U.S. Bank locations inside Schnucks stores in Collinsville and Edwardsville in August.
The Collinsville bank at 501 Belt Line Road was robbed about 2:15 p.m. Aug. 30, according to Collinsville police. The same suspect robbed the U.S. Bank at 2222 Troy Road in Edwardsville about 1:30 p.m. the same day. The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
The suspect in both robberies was described as a white, heavyset male, who was wearing dark-framed glasses, a long-sleeve, button-style denim shirt, blue jeans and a maroon hat.
Evan' alleged robbery spree began a month earlier on July 30 with the robbery of a bank in Salem, Wis., the FBI said. In addition to the two in the metro-east, four other attempted robberies or robberies were reported throughout August in Munster, Ind.; in the Illinois towns of Hammond and Moline; and in Janesville, Wis. -- all were believed to be connected to the "Ray Bandit," according to officials.
In September, the "Ray Bandit" hit banks in Bettendorf, Iowa, and in Milan, Ill., the FBI said. The spree continued, but moved west, with a bank in Omaha, Neb. robbed in November and two banks in California hit by the "Ray Bandit" in November, according to officials.
Last month, Evans allegedly returned east as two more banks outside of Richmond, Va. were also robbed, the FBI said.
The description of the "Ray Bandit" in all these robberies was similar: a white male, approximately 5-foot-8 to 6-foot tall, heavyset, wearing disguises ranging from a beard, either black or blond hair usually covered with a hat of some type, a plaid shirt and Ray Ban-type sunglasses.
In many of these robberies, the subject drove a Hyundai Elantra, which is the vehicle registered to Evans, according to the FBI. The "Ray Bandit" was also seen driving a Toyota Camry -- the car used in the Elgin robbery.
In the earlier robberies allegedly committed by Evans, he would pass a note indicating he had a gun and demanding money as he did in the Collinsville and Edwardsville robberies. However, in both of the California robberies, the FBI said a bomb threat was verbalized and, in the Elgin robbery, a gun was displayed.
The "Ray Bandit" was featured on FBI.gov as well as the "America's Most Wanted" website, according to the FBI.
Officials said charges are pending in Illinois as well as other states.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.