Metro-East News

Surveillance cams and Facebook help catch suspect in O’Fallon bank robbery

Marcus J. Thornton
Marcus J. Thornton Provided

Federal charges have been filed against a Madison County man who police say robbed the U.S. Bank branch in O’Fallon earlier this month, then got away in his girlfriend’s SUV.

Marcus J. Thornton, 36, was charged with one count of bank robbery Friday.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, at about 1:11 p.m. Feb. 9, a man wearing a light blue baseball hat, dark jacket, blue shirt, blue jeans and a construction dust mask with yellow elastic bands walked into the U.S. Bank at 400 S. Lincoln Ave. in O’Fallon. The suspect displayed a handgun and demanded money, the affidavit said.

Two tellers took money from their drawers and gave it to the robber, the affidavit said, and the robber then put the money into a white plastic bag. The suspect then inserted a telescopic magnet into the bag, presumably to detect a tracking device.

In this BND file video from February 2017, O'Fallon Police Capt. Jim Cavins talks about an armed robbery that was reported at the U.S. Bank branch on South Lincoln.

The suspect then left the bank, and a witness spotted him getting into a dark blue sport-utility vehicle, the affidavit stated. Police reviewed the surveillance tape and determined the car was a 2004 to 2009 Dodge Durango. The plates were unreadable.

Also, police noticed after reviewing the surveillance tape that the mask slipped down, revealing much of the suspect’s face, the affidavit said.

Police used surveillance images from businesses to track the vehicle to Collinsville, then searched for registered owners of blue Dodge Durangos in the area. One of those plates was registered to a woman. A search of the woman’s social media revealed that she was in a relationship with Thornton.

“In reviewing the Facebook photographs of Thornton and the U.S. Bank robbery surveillance video, officers concluded that Thornton had a strong resemblance to the bank robber,” the affidavit stated.

Glenn Mackey of O'Fallon witnessed the robbery suspect leave the U.S. Bank branch on South Lincoln on Thursday afternoon. O'Fallon police canvas the area surrounding the bank.

Police used databases to find an address for the woman and found a blue Dodge Durango parked at one of the addresses in Edwardsville.

Police also discovered Thornton was on federal parole for a 2009 bank robber in Mississippi.

Witnesses also picked Thornton out of a photo lineup, the affidavit stated.

U.S. Bank lost $10,720 in the stickup, according to the affidavit.

Thornton was arrested in Madison County on Feb. 17.

The O’Fallon Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, investigated the case.

Thornton remained in custody Saturday pending federal proceedings.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer

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