JERMAINE SMITH, age 25, of 850 Ewing in Joliet, was arrested yesterday evening by FBI Special Agents and Officers from the JPD following a brief foot chase. SMITH was taken into custody as he attempted to flee from a residence located at 5234 Stonebridge in Matteson. Officers from the Matteson, Illinois Police Department also assisted with the arrest.
SMITH was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, earlier today, with one count of Bank Robbery, which is a felony offense. The complaint charges SMITH with the April 8, 2009 robbery of the Harris Bank branch, located at 207 North Midland in Joliet.
According to the complaint, SMITH confronted an employee of the bank as she approached the entrance just after 7:00 AM. He threatened her with harm if his instructions were not followed and proceeded with her to the bank’s entrance. They were then met at the door by a second bank employee, who unlocked the door and let both individuals into the building. SMITH then is alleged to have announced a robbery and demanded that he be led to the vault, where he filled a black plastic garbage bag with over $71,000. SMITH then fled the bank on foot, last seen walking around a fence separating the bank property from a grocery store. The bank employees gave investigators a description of the robber and his clothing, including a black leather "Sean John" jacket that the robber was wearing.
Subsequent investigation by the FBI and JPD discovered that an unoccupied vehicle parked in the lot of the adjacent grocery store was registered to SMITH and that his physical description, as contained on records of the Illinois Secretary of State, matched the description of the robber. Surveillance cameras from the grocery store also disclosed that a second vehicle, described as a Honda Accord, was seen parked next to SMITH’s vehicle, just prior to the robbery. The license plate of this vehicle was registered to an associate of SMITH’s in Matteson, Illinois.
When investigators arrived at the Matteson residence, they were met by an individual, subsequently identified as SMITH. As investigators were leaving, they observed a black leather "Sean John" jacket on the back seat of the Honda Accord, which was parked in the driveway of the residence. While they waited outside for a search warrant, investigators heard a smoke alarm activate inside the residence. A short time later, SMITH was seen opening windows in the house and the smell of smoke was detected.
Suspecting that SMITH was burning evidence, investigators gained entry to the residence and discovered money was being burned in the fireplace. While the fire was being extinguished, SMITH attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended a few blocks away. Additional evidence was later discovered inside, linking SMITH to the Joliet theft. Further investigation is being conducted into this theft by both the FBI and JPD.
Although charged with just the Joliet robbery, SMITH is a suspect in as many as four (4) additional thefts, dating to March of 2008. This includes the March 14th robbery of the Marquette Bank branch, located at 1876 West Airport Road in Romeoville, Illinois; and robberies of Harris Bank branches in Hinsdale, Illinois on March 17, 2008 and Plainfield, Illinois on October 30, 2008. No injuries were reported in any of these robberies.
SMITH appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox, earlier today, at which time he was formally charged. SMITH was ordered held without bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance, and will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, SMITH faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years incarceration.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.