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Two charged in Homewood bank robbery

SWAT team members surround an apartment building Wednesday morning Homewood after reported bank robbery.  |  Supplied photo

SWAT team members surround an apartment building Wednesday morning in Homewood after a reported bank robbery. | Supplied photo

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Updated: January 7, 2014 6:28AM



The two men accused of robbing a Homewood bank at gunpoint Wednesday morning stole more than $80,000 before being apprehended a few hours later while sitting in a parked car across the street, court records show.

Malcolm Carpenter, 32, of Chicago, and Justin Williams, 23, of Calumet Park, appeared at their initial court hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, charged with robbing the Bank of America branch in Cherry Creek Plaza, 183rd Street and Governors Highway. They are next due in court for a bail hearing Tuesday.

Attorney Bart Beals, representing Williams, said after the hearing that “mistakes happen all the time,” in criminal cases.

“Sometimes the wrong person is charged,” Beals said.

Carpenter and Williams were arrested about four hours after the holdup by the FBI, found in a car in the parking lot of a nearby apartment building after an extensive search of the building, from which tenants were evacuated and questioned, the FBI said.

FBI agents and police were led to the building on Cherry Creek Drive by a witness who said she saw the two robbers run toward it after fleeing the bank on foot, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent R. Brian Wentz.

Police surrounded the building and cordoned off the area and later stopped a man by the building who had a large amount of cash on him and a key to a 1998 Volvo, authorities said.

Wentz’s sworn statement says that during the questioning of tenants, one of them told authorities that a similar car parked in front of the apartment building did not belong there, leading the FBI and police to find Carpenter and Williams inside the car.

Using the key taken from the third man, agents found $80,2888 in a bag and a dark jacket in the car’s trunk, and two handguns hidden behind the radio in the car, the statement says.

It says Carpenter and Williams were identified as the robbers by the bank’s security cameras, which also showed that the bag and jacket were identical to those seen on the cameras. The third man has not been charged, the FBI said.

Wentz says one of the robbers entered the bank at 10:33 a.m., approached a teller, and asked to speak to a manager about opening a corporate bank account. The second man then entered, pointed a gun at the bank manager, and the first man also pulled a gun and announced the robbery, according to the statement, which does not identify which man was Carpenter and which was Williams.

Wentz said the robbers ordered the bank employes to get on the floor, and the first robber took the manager to the vault and ordered him to open it at gunpoint. The man pulled out a canvas bag and told the manager to fill it with cash, which he did while slipping an anti-theft device into the bag, the statement says, and the first robber told the manager, “Don’t take it personal.”

The first robber then walked back to the teller area and told a teller to empty the money in her drawer into the bag, and both men left, Wentz says.

His statement says a bank employee was on the phone with a Bank of America branch worker in Oak Lawn during the robbery, and the Oak Lawn employee called 911.



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