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Woman Says Desperation Led Her To Bank Robbery Attempt

A woman tried to rob this Community Bank in Lincoln Square. (CBS)

A woman tried to rob this Community Bank in Lincoln Square. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman who told investigators she was desperate because her unemployment benefits had run out has been charged with the attempted robbery of a bank in the North Side Lincoln Square neighborhood.

On April 12, the woman attempted to rob the North Community Bank branch at 5241 N. Western Ave., but left with her demand note and an empty bag after the teller seemed unsure of what to do and a bank manager came out to ask the would-be robber if she needed help, according to federal prosecutors.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Tuesday, the woman approached a teller about 4:15 p.m. and put a note on the teller counter reading, “Put money in the bag now!” She also put a plastic shopping bag on the counter.

That teller turned to another and asked in Spanish if she should give the robber any money. The second teller, also in Spanish, said yes, at which time the robber told the second teller to “Shut up.” The second teller then told the branch manager the bank was being robbed.

The manager walked into the lobby and asked the robber if they could help. The robber also told the manager to “shut up” and the manager directed the first teller to call police and activate the alarm. The robber took the note and bag, and left the bank.

Police later found the note, bag, and the robber’s hat and a mask outside near the bank.

The next day, a witness called 911 and said a woman matching the robber’s description was walking near the North Community Bank branch. Chicago police found the woman, identified as Regina M. Gillon, and questioned her.

A few days later, the bank employees positively identified Gillon – in photos – as the person who robbed the bank. Additionally, according to the complaint, on or about Feb. 11, Gillon was arrested on an unrelated matter and gave a home address about a block from the bank.

Gillon later confessed to the FBI that she attempted to rob the bank out of desperation because she had lost her job and her unemployment benefits had recently ceased, the complaint said.

Gillon, 47, appeared Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason, and was and ordered held until her next court date on May 10, according to the FBI.