(MCT) — CHICAGO — Investigators believe a man arrested minutes after an Elgin, Ill., bank robbery last week is the “Ray Bandit” — responsible for at least 16 other crimes in a spree spanning seven states, the FBI announced Monday.
Jeremy Evans of Carol Stream, Ill., was arrested Jan. 15, just after a robbery was reported at the Old Second National Bank in Elgin. About five minutes after bank employees reported the robbery to 911 and gave a description of his car, Elgin police say officers spotted it headed east on Route 20.
Evans is charged with a single count of bank robbery in that incident and remains held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
On Monday, FBI officials announced Evans is suspected to be the man dubbed the “Ray Bandit” because of Ray-Ban sunglasses worn during robberies. He matches the description of a man believed to have taken more than $75,000 from 17 banks since late July in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, California, Nebraska and possibly elsewhere, FBI officials said.
The spree began July 30, 2012, at the Community State Bank in Salem, Wis., according to the FBI. Robberies or attempted robberies were reported throughout August at the TCF Bank in Munster, Ind.; the Fifth Third Bank in Hammond, Ill.; the Wells Fargo Bank in Moline, Ill.; the First National Bank and Trust in Janesville, Wis.; and two U.S. Banks in Collinsville, Ill., and Edwardsville, Ill., officials said.
In September, the Valley Bank in Bettendorf, Iowa, and the American Bank and Trust in Milan, Ill., were added to the spree, according to the FBI. In October, the Bank of the West in Omaha, Neb., and in November the U.S. Bank in Upland, Calif., and the Chase Bank in Glendora, Calif., were also hit, officials said.
Two more banks were robbed just outside Richmond, Va., on Dec. 5, by a man who matches the same description, the FBI said.
In many of these robberies, the suspect is believed to have driven a Hyundai Elantra, which officials say is the vehicle registered to Evans. The Ray Bandit was also seen driving a Toyota Camry — the same as used in the Elgin robbery.
In the earlier robberies, the bandit would pass a note indicating he had a gun and demanding money, officials said. But in both of the California robberies, a bomb threat was verbalized and, in the Elgin robbery, a gun was displayed.
The Ray Bandit has been featured on FBI.gov, among other sites with bank robbery suspects. He was also featured on the “America’s Most Wanted” website, according to FBI officials.
Charges in Illinois and other states are pending, officials said.