Arrest Made in ‘Wicker Park Bandit’ Investigation

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A suspect in a string of as many as 10 bank robberies in and around Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood was arrested late Wednesday night, announced Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  Mr. Grant was joined in making this announcement by Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart.

SIMEON HARRIS, age 27, of 2631 South Indiana, was arrested Tuesday evening, without incident, by members of the Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) outside his residence. HARRIS was named in a criminal complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of Bank Robbery, which is a felony offense. HARRIS was charged in the complaint with the January 16 robbery of the North Community Bank branch, located at 448 North Wells Street.

According to the complaint, HARRIS was linked to the January 16 robbery by an eyewitness, who saw him flee after the theft in a maroon-colored SUV with temporary Illinois license plates. A vehicle matching the description given by the witness was impounded by the CPD a few days later, following a traffic stop and drug arrest. Subsequent investigation by VCTF members, including a search of the impounded SUV, developed evidence linking HARRIS to the robbery and the charge announced today.

Though not charged, other robberies attributed to the “Wicker Park Bandit” are as follows:

  1. December 13, 2011 – Chase Bank branch, 1700 North Wells
  2. December 20, 2011 – North Community Bank branch, 2335 North Clark
  3. December 22, 2011 – PNC Bank branch, 4440 North Broadway
  4. December 30, 2011 – Chase Bank branch, 1350 North Wells
  5. January 6, 2012 – North Community Bank branch, 1555 N. Damen
  6. January 6, 2012 – North Community Bank branch, 1600 West Chicago Avenue
  7. January 9, 2012 – Chase Bank branch, 1200 North State Parkway
  8. January 21, 2012 – Chase Bank branch, 71 West Chicago Avenue
  9. January 28, 2012  – Chase Bank branch, 3531 North Western Avenue. 

During all of the robberies, witnesses said that a lone robber entered the bank and approached a teller with a handwritten note asking for cash. He did not show any weapons or make any threats during the robberies and no injuries were reported in any of these incidents.
HARRIS appeared before Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez, earlier today, at which time he was formally charged.  HARRIS was ordered held without bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance. If convicted of the charge filed against him, HARRIS faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Chicago FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF), which is comprised of FBI special agents, detectives from the Chicago Police Department, and investigators from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police.
Additional information about this and other Chicago area bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available online at the Bandit Tracker Chicago website, www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.