Deadline Nears to Catch 'Wheaton Bandit'

The statute of limitations on a bank robbery expires after five years

By Alise Blunk
|  Monday, Dec 5, 2011  |  Updated 11:04 AM CDT
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Statute of limitations on a bank robbery is five years, and the clock is ticking.

Statute of limitations on a bank robbery is five years, and the clock is ticking.

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The so-called "Wheaton Bandit," one of Chicago's most wanted bank robbers, may go unpunished if he isn't found by Wednesday.

The statute of limitations expires on a bank robbery after five years. The Wheaton Bandit's 16 robberies occurred from 2002 to 2006, with the last heist taking place Dec. 7, 2006.

The man never left behind much physical evidence and wore a ski mask and gloves to prevent fingerprints. He is described as a man of medium build and blue eyes, and is believed to be between 35 and 40 years old. He is between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 2 inches tall.

Any leads have dried up and police have said they don't have any physical evidence or a name to trace the bandit.

Police believe he may have previous law enforcement or military training because of the way he held his weapon during the crimes and the planning it looks like he put into robbing the banks.

The statute of limitation has expired in 15 of the robberies, so the most the bandit likely could be charged with is for one count of bank robbery.

Law experts told the Chicago Tribune there are ways to charge the man after the statute expires, but it usually requires knowing the suspect's identity or having physical evidence, neither of which authorities have.

There is a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the bandit, but time is running out to collect.

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