FBI: Change Up Bandit robbed Forest Park bank

A man dubbed the “Change Up Bandit,” suspected of three bank robberies in Oak Park and one in the Galewood neighborhood of Chicago during the past 12 months, has struck again — this time in Forest Park.

Wearing a black ski cap, a black coat, black latex gloves — and a fake black beard — the Change Up Bandit robbed the U.S. Bank at 7525 Madison St. on Dec. 31 about 10:10 a.m., the FBI is reporting.

The Change Up Bandit is described as a black male between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-1 and in his mid-30s to late 40s, weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. In other reported robberies, he has variously been dressed as a woman, wearing a wig; as a sheik, with a red and white checked head cloth and sunglasses; and bundled up in winter clothing with a hat and scarf covering most of his face.

The first bank robbery the man reportedly committed was one year to the day of the Forest Park robbery. On Dec. 31, 2014, he allegedly robbed Community Bank of Oak Park-River Forest at 1001 Lake St. in Oak Park, wearing a brown coat, sunglasses and a winter hat.

He struck again at Community Bank on Aug. 3, 2015, according to the FBI, dressed as a woman. He then allegedly robbed Byline Bank, 601 N. Harlem Ave., on Aug. 28, 2015, dressed as a sheik and is suspected of robbing U.S. Bank at 6700 W. North Ave. in Chicago on Sept. 23., wearing a fake mustache.

In Forest Park, the Change Up Bandit reportedly entered the bank just after 10 a.m. and approached the teller window, presenting a note stating, “Give me all your big bills. I have a gun.”

No weapon was ever displayed, but the teller told police the man was wearing a fake black beard. The teller gave the man an undisclosed amount of cash, and the man was last seen running northbound on Desplaines Avenue and then eastbound.

Police reported locating a pair of black latex gloves on the sidewalk near 320 Desplaines Avenue. A search for the suspect in the area was unsuccessful.

 Luckily, no one got shot

A verbal altercation at a New Year’s Eve party in the 1100 block of Lathrop Avenue escalated into something more dangerous when someone decided to get everyone’s attention by firing a round into the floor of a garage about 1:10 a.m. on Jan. 1. 

Because he wasn’t the only one armed at the party.

Police responded to the scene after a report of a disturbance and multiple gunshots. When police arrived, they observed three men standing by a white car and two men in the doorway of a home.

One of the men immediately stated he had a 9 mm pistol in his pocket. The pistol was loaded and there was a round in the chamber, according to police. Another man, who had a large cut on his hand and was bleeding, was reportedly in possession of a loaded .40-caliber handgun.

All of the subjects reportedly were friends gathered for a New Year’s Eve party when one subject got into an argument with his wife. Someone intervened and asked the husband to leave.

Initially the man left but attempted to return and another altercation, at first verbal and later physical, started. In an attempt to stop the fight, a man went inside of the apartment and returned with a 9 mm pistol and told the subjects to stop fighting.

When they refused, he opened the rear door of the apartment building and fired a shot into the garage floor. At that time the fight ended and people scattered as police arrived.

Both of the gun owners had valid FOID cards, and the owner of the .40-caliber weapon had a concealed-carry license.

No one wished to press charges and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to file felony charges for discharging the pistol.

 Package stolen

On Dec. 31, a resident of the 7400 block of Washington Street contacted police to report that a package was stolen from the lobby of the building between 10:20 and 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 22.

A still photo from the building’s surveillance camera system of the suspected thief was posted in the building. Another resident reportedly identified that person as a handyman working in one of the apartments.

No arrest had been made as of Tuesday morning.

 These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, Dec. 28, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

—Compiled by Bob Uphues