O'Fallon teen claims to be 'I-55 Bandit' bank robber

News-DemocratSeptember 12, 2013 

An O'Fallon man surrendered Wednesday morning to the FBI, claiming to be the "I-55 Bandit."

Andrew Maberry, 19, surrendered at the FBI office in St. Louis and has been charged in connection with a July 2 robbery at Commerce Bank in Arnold, Mo.

The name the "I-55 Bandit" came from the fact that all four banks robbed in the St. Louis region were along Interstate 55.

Those who live near Maberry's former home said they were surprised to hear about their neighbor. Carl Chalmers comes to visit his daughter in the neighborhood who lives 50 yards from Maberry's house.

"I come here quite often," Chalmers said. "I usually would see kids hanging out in front of that house. They seem like nice kids. They wave at me as I drive by."

When asked if he knew that Maberry was a suspect in a string of interstate bank robberies, his jaw fell open, and he said, "You're kidding me."

At another neighbor's house, a woman who identified herself as a baby-sitter said that she was shocked to hear the news. She also said she was suspicious that something was going on in the street because a white Ford van has be parked on the block for weeks and has never moved. At first, she said she thought it was a police surveillance truck.

Another neighbor who lived next door to Maberry's residence told reporters that he did not know who the teenager was, got into a car and quickly left.

Maberry was charged with robbing a federally insured institution and arraigned Wednesday afternoon in the federal courthouse in St. Louis, according to Dean C. Bryant, special agent in charge of the FBI St. Louis Division.

Maberry surrendered the day after the FBI launched a publicity campaign to find the "I-55 Bandit" and widely published bank security camera photos of the bank robber believed to have robbed 10 banks and attempted to rob two others in five states: Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia and Tennessee.

The robberies started in May with the robbery of a U.S. Bank in Crystal City, Mo.

The I-55 Bandit is believed to be responsible for the May 6 robbery of Scott Credit Union in Edwardsville.

After the FBI launched the campaign, tips from people claiming to have gone to school with Maberry or who had worked with him came in to the FBI office. Tipsters described the car Maberry drove and indicated his mother lived in Maryland, one of the states where a bank was robbed.

According to the FBI, the Maryland bank was robbed while Maberry was in that state visiting his mother.

The West Virginia robbery happened as Maberry was headed back to O'Fallon from Maryland and the Tennessee robbery happened while Maberry was visiting a friend in that state.

In each robbery, the suspect presented the teller with a note, usually indicating he had a bomb or a gun or both and ordered the teller to hand over the money.

In the video surveillance videos, the suspect wore a Livestrong band on his wrist. Maberry, who is an O'Fallon High School graduate, wore a Livestrong wrist band all the time, according to the criminal complaint.

"We want to thank the news media and digital billboard companies for providing coverage on the I-55 Bandit," Bryant said. "We have no doubt Maberry's surrender was a direct result of the extensive media attention. We also appreciate the dozens of solid tips we were provided by the public. The FBI has long relied on the public to help identify and capture criminals."

The FBI continues the investigation to determine if Maberry is linked to other bank robberies.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service