Two schools and two daycare facilities were temporarily locked down midday Thursday but the man who fled after robbing the Regions Bank branch in Smithton shortly after 11:30 a.m. was in police custody less than an hour later.
According to a statement from Smithton Police Chief Brian Vielweber, a masked robber identified only as a 37-year-old man from Illinois entered the bank at 406 N. Main St., displayed a black handgun and demanded that a teller hand over cash. After the teller complied, the man left the bank on foot.
Smithton and Freeburg police officers responding to the robbery requested that the schools and daycare facilities keep everyone inside while they searched the area. Officers lifted the lockdowns after they learned the suspect got into a silver Mitsubishi a block south of the bank and left town.
At 12:20 p.m. and 15 miles from the bank, Columbia Police officers and an Illinois State Police investigator positioned on Illinois 3 after receiving the report of the fleeing robber stopped a northbound silver Mitsubishi that matched the description of the suspect’s car near Wedgewood Drive. Officers took the driver into custody without incident and recovered a gun and other evidence from the car.
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Local detectives and an FBI agent were questioning the man.
Vielweber said the suspect’s name wouldn’t be released until formal charges are filed. He expected those could come as soon as Friday.