Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was joined by Michael A. Holub, Chief of the LaGrange Police Department (LPD) and Patrick J. Fitzgerald,
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, in announcing the arrest of three Chicago area men for the attempted armed robbery of the First National Bank (FNB) of LaGrange, which is located at 620 West Burlington Avenue in the western suburb.
JOSEPH J. SCALISE, age 73, of 5729 Clarendon Hills Road in Clarendon Hills, who served as a technical advisor to the feature film “Public Enemies”, which was filmed here in Chicago in 2008, was taken into custody along with ROBERT J. PULLIA, age 69, of 2607 Oak Tree Lane in Plainfield and ARTHUR RACHEL, age 71, of 1504 West Van Buren in Chicago. The three men were arrested last night in the 3000 block of South Princeton in Chicago, without incident, by FBI Special Agents and officers from the LPD, as they were allegedly preparing to enter a nearby residence to commit a home invasion.
All three men were charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of Attempt and Conspiracy to commit Armed Robbery in violation of the Hobbs Act, which is a felony offense.
According to the complaint, the three men have been the subject of a joint investigation by the FBI and LPD since the July 2007 armed take-over robbery of the Harris Bank branch, located at 1000 South LaGrange Road in the western suburb, which netted the robbers in excess of $100,000. In that robbery, two men entered the bank wearing plastic masks to cover their faces and were armed with handguns. After forcing bank employees and customers to the floor, one of the robbers stood guard in the lobby while the second robber climbed over the teller counter and retrieved two plastic bags, which were on the floor near the vault. The two bags, which contained the cash, were scheduled for pick-up by an armored car service, later that morning. The two robbers then fled in a waiting minivan, which was driven by a third accomplice.
The get-away vehicle, which was reported stolen a few months earlier, was found abandoned a short distance away. A forensic examination of the interior of the minivan discovered DNA samples on both the steering wheel and gear shift, which were later identified as belonging to SCALISE.
Subsequent investigation by the FBI and LPD, which included the use of both physical and electronic surveillance, discovered that the three men were apparently plotting to commit a similar robbery, this time at the FNB in LaGrange. Investigators were led to this conclusion as the three men were seen in the vicinity of the bank, apparently conducting surveillance, with particular focus on the regularly scheduled Thursday morning deliveries and pick-ups by an armored car company. Since early December of last year, one or more of the three men had been seen in the vicinity of the FNB in LaGrange on Thursday mornings, on at least a dozen different occasions.
Intercepted conversations between the men, obtained through a court-authorized Title III surveillance, revealed detailed discussions about the timing of the armored car deliveries, the focus and activities of the guards, and the apparent weight of money bags taken from the bank.
In addition, conversations were also intercepted indicating that the three men were plotting a home invasion in the Bridgeport area of Chicago. The three were followed to the Princeton Street location last night, which was just a short distance from the suspected target residence, at which time they were taken into custody. Following the arrests, inspection of the residence which investigators believed had been targeted for the home invasion revealed that steps had already been taken to gain entry to the home, which was occupied at the time by the owner.
In announcing these arrests, Mr. Grant noted the extensive and invaluable assistance provided to the FBI by officers and detectives from the LaGrange Police Department. Said Mr. Grant, “Without the assistance and resources provided by the men and women of the LaGrange Police Department, this investigation would not have resulted in the arrests and charges announced today. Their dedication and commitment are a tribute to their profession.”
SCALISE, PULLIA and RACHEL are scheduled to appear at 3:00 PM today before United States Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan in Chicago, at which time they will be formally charged. If convicted of the charges filed against them, the three men face a possible sentence of up to twenty (20) years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.