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Accused Oak Lawn bank robber has history of violent crime

Police work scene bank robbery standoff Bank Americbranch Ranch Manor Shooping Center 111th Street Pulaski Avenue Oak Lawn Saturday June

Police work the scene of a bank robbery and standoff at the Bank of America branch in the Ranch Manor Shooping Center at 111th Street and Pulaski Avenue in Oak Lawn Saturday, June 2, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 4, 2012 3:00PM



An accused Oak Lawn bank robber arrested over the weekend while stuck in an airduct has a history of kidnapping and other violent crimes.

Charles B. Estell, 37, dropped through the ceiling into the Bank of America branch, 4046 W. 111th St., on Saturday, waved a gun around and bound employees while taking as much as $100,000, according to an FBI complaint.

“I don’t want to kill you or hurt you, I just want the money,” he told the workers, according to the complaint.

He disappeared through the ceiling, and was found early Sunday morning stuck in an airduct in the adjacent strip mall, Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Mike Kaufmann said.

The weapon he is believed to have used — a semi-automatic handgun – was found on the roof of the building where police cut Estell out of the ductwork, Kaufmann said. It still was loaded, he said.

Estell’s arrest history dates back as early as 1992. In 2007, he was charged with carjacking and aggravated kidnapping, and was sentenced to 5½ years in prison.

While out on bail in that case, he disappeared, only to be found in custody in San Diego, Calif., according to court records. 

He was also arrested in 2007 for stealing a car, and was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Estell is due back in U.S. District Court in Chicago at 2 p.m. Tuesday, when bail may be set. Meanwhile, he’s being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Estell faces up to 20 years in prison.



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