Suspect nabbed within minutes of Melrose Park bank robbery
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE July 3, 2013 12:30PM
Surveillance photo of a man who robbed a bank branch in Melrose Park on July 2, 2013. | photo from FBI
(MELROSE PARK) A suspect was nabbed just minutes after the robbery of a west suburban bank branch Tuesday morning by a police officer who was having coffee at a Starbucks a few doors down.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the robber walked into the Fifth Third Bank branch at 2501 W. North Ave. in Melrose Park just after 10:30 a.m.
He approached a teller and inquired about purchasing a vehicle sticker, a statement from the FBI said. He then demanded cash and indicated he had a weapon, although no weapon was shown. The teller handed over about $8,000 that he placed in a red bank bag before running out.
According to the complaint, three witnesses who were at the Hooters restaurant next door to the bank, saw a man run into the parking lot and approach a gray 4-door Lexus. The man was clutching a red bag to his chest and they saw a puff of red mist coming from the bag. He threw something from the bag, then got into the Lexus and drove away.
At the same time, the complaint said, a Melrose Park police officer at a Starbucks in the same strip mall heard about the robbery on his police radio. He met the witnesses, who pointed out the Lexus, which was stopped at the red light at 25th and North.
The officer ran toward the Lexus and drew his weapon. As he approached, he yelled through the open car windows for the driver to raise his hands. The driver raised his hands, but at the same time accelerated into the intersection, colliding with another car.
After the crash, police apprehended 43-year-old Eric Murchinson of Chicago, according to the complaint. He was the only person in the Lexus, in which police found a red bank bag and cash on the floor, covered in red dye.
Murchinson was turned over to the FBI and charged with one count of bank robbery. He appeared late Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason and was ordered held pending his next court appearance, the release said.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.