ST. LOUIS — A man dubbed the "Ray Bandit" for the distinctive Ray-Ban sunglasses authorities say he wore during a string of 17 bank robberies in seven states—including one in Janesville—has been captured, the FBI said.
Jeremy Evans, 30, of Carol Stream, Ill., was arrested Jan. 15 in a car matching the description of one used during a holdup moments earlier at a bank in Elgin, near Chicago. Elgin police found $4,812 taken from the bank and a BB gun inside the Toyota Camry, FBI Special Agent Anthony Reeves wrote in an affidavit. Evans is being held without bond.
Evans is accused of robbing the First National Bank, 2636 S. Highway 51, Janesville, on Aug. 23. The robber handed a teller a note demanding money but did not display a weapon.
He left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money and drove away in a tan compact car. When police arrived, they were unable to locate the vehicle.
At that time, Evans was believed to be connected with a bank robbery in Kenosha.
Evans has been charged in Chicago with one federal count of bank robbery and ordered held by U.S. marshals pending a detention hearing today. He is suspected in robberies from Virginia to California, and additional charges are expected as FBI agents track Evans' recent travels and sort through unsolved bank heists, said Robert Ramsey, a senior supervisory special agent with the FBI's northern Indiana district.
"We are confident he's responsible for these 17 (holdups), and that list may be growing," Ramsey said.
Evans' attorney, Donna Hickstein-Foley, didn't immediately return a message Tuesday.
The FBI announced Evans' arrest Monday, identifying the 5-foot-11, 230-pound man as the "Ray Bandit" who netted more than $75,000 since last summer from banks in Illinois, California, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Authorities say the robbery spree began July 30 at the Community State Bank in Salem, followed by robberies the next month in the Indiana cities of Munster and Hammond. Then the bandit hit banks in Moline, Ill.; Janesville; and the St. Louis suburbs of Collinsville and Edwardsville, Ill.
Similar robberies were reported in September in Bettendorf, Iowa, and Milan, Ill., then in October in Omaha, Neb. The spree stretched to California in November with bank holdups in Upland and Glendora before two banks were robbed the next month near Richmond, Va.
Ramsey said he didn't know what may have driven Evans to rob but authorities grew increasingly worried about the way the threats to tellers "really started to progress in a spectrum of violence."
During earlier robberies, the bandit handed a bank employee a note demanding money and suggesting he had a gun. Then he got bolder, and by the California holdups he insisted he had a bomb. During the Elgin heist that led to Evans' arrest, Ramsey said, the bandit actually displayed a firearm.