Friday, February 5, 2010

RASHE WATKINS and his brother JULIUS WATKINS arrested for robbery

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office

of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was joined today by Robert Jones,

Chief of the Gurnee, Illinois Police Department (GPD) and Mark C. Curran, Jr., Lake County, Illinois Sheriff, in announcing the arrest of two Waukegan men for the January 29th attempted take-over robbery of the Community Trust Credit Union in Gurnee and the October 10, 2009 armed take-over robbery of the National City Bank branch, located in Long Grove, Illinois.

RASHE WATKINS, age 33 and his brother, JULIUS WATKINS, age 29, both of Waukegan, Illinois, were arrested earlier today, without incident, by FBI Special Agents and Officers from several north suburban police departments, outside a community center in Waukegan. Both men have been charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count each of Bank Robbery and Attempted Bank Robbery, both of which are felony offenses.

According to the complaint, during the early morning hours of October 10, 2009 the two brothers waited outside of the National City Bank branch and ambushed two employees as they prepared to open the bank for the day. One of the brothers forced the employees inside while the other waited outside, serving as a lookout and get-away driver. Once in the bank, the robber, who was armed with a handgun and whose identity was concealed with a mask and cap, threatened both employees with harm, if his instructions were not followed. After entering the vault area, the robber ordered the two employees to fill with cash, a backpack he had brought with him. Before fleeing, the robber bound both bank employees with plastic zip ties.

The complaint also alleges that on January 29, 2010, one of the WATKINS brothers waited outside the Community Trust Credit Union at closing and forced his way inside as two employees were leaving for the day. As he had done in Long Grove, the robber concealed his identity with a ski mask was armed with a handgun. He threatened the credit union employees with harm, if his demands were not meet. He then ordered the employees to open the vault, but they were unable to do so as the door was locked. After realizing that he would be unable to get any money, the robber bound the hands of all four credit union employees with plastic zip ties and fled on foot.

As he was leaving the credit union, the robber encountered a Gurnee Police Officer, who was responding to a robbery call. Without provocation, the robber opened fire on the officer, discharging his weapon numerous times. The officer was not struck and the robber fled out of sight behind a nearby building, apparently escaping in a waiting vehicle that was driven by his brother.

Subsequent investigation by the FBI, Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Gurnee Police Department developed evidence linking the WATKINS brothers to the robberies and the filing of the charges announced today. Providing invaluable assistance to this investigation and arrest was the Waukegan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Artis Yancey, and the Libertyville Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Carey . Also assisting in the investigation and arrests were officers of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS). Established in 1983, NIPAS is a mutual assistance cooperative comprised of law enforcement agencies from 69 communities in northern Illinois. In announcing these arrests, Mr. Grant noted the non-violent manner with which this case was resolved. Said Mr. Grant “The arrest without incident of two armed robbery suspects who had displayed a pre-disposition to use violence against police officers, is a testament to the training and discipline of all those involved.”

Chief Jones added “We are grateful that these suspects were identified and arrested without incident and before anyone was seriously injured. The interagency cooperation shown during this investigation was tremendous and brought about the quick resolution to these robbery investigations.”

Both men are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Michael Mason in Chicago on Monday, February 8th, at which time they will be formally charged. Until then, both men will be housed at the Gurnee Police Department. If convicted of the charges filed against them, each man faces a possible sentence of up to forty (40) years incarceration.

Although not charged, the WATKINS brothers are also suspects in the April 2009 take-over robbery of the Great Lakes Credit Union, located at 1509 Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville, Illinois.

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