Local

Two Charged In Homewood Bank Robbery That Ended In Standoff

Surveillance photo of a bank robbery at the Bank of America branch at the Cherry Creek Plaza shopping center in Homewood. (Credit: FBI)

Surveillance photo of a bank robbery at the Bank of America branch at the Cherry Creek Plaza shopping center in Homewood. (Credit: FBI)

Featured & Trending:

Latest News Headlines:

CHICAGO (STMW) – Two people have been charged with the Wednesday bank robbery that resulted in a standoff with authorities in south suburban Homewood.

Malcolm Carpenter, 32, of Chicago; and Justin Williams, 23, of Calumet Park, are each charged with one count of bank robbery, according to the FBI. Both appeared Thursday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole and were ordered held pending their next court appearances.

Carpenter and Williams, armed with handguns, entered the Bank of America branch in the Cherry Creek Plaza at 183rd Street and Governors Highway a few minutes after 10:30 a.m., and confronted bank employees, according to a federal criminal complaint.

One of the robbers took the manager to the bank vault, and once it was opened with the assistance of another employee, the robber ordered the manager to fill a bag with money, the complaint states. The robber also ordered a teller to put the content’s of a drawer into the same bag.

Afterward, the robbers walked out of the bank, according to the complaint. No one was injured in the holdup.

A witness told authorities two people were seen running toward a nearby apartment building, according to the complaint.

A standoff began when more than 100 police officers from Homewood, Flossmoor, Cook County and other departments, as well as FBI agents, searched the area near the shopping center, tracking the robbers to the complex about a half-block west of the mall, where they surrounded a building, authorities said.

About four hours later, Carpenter and Williams were arrested in the parking lot of the apartment complex. A third man was apprehended after the robbery, but has not been charged.

After the arrests, authorities recovered two semi-automatic handguns and a bag with money in it matching the description of the bag used in the robbery, according to the FBI.

Margie Lorenz-Larocca, a sales manager at Lorenz Appliances in Cherry Creek, said she saw “cops fly to the back of the bank” and then rush over to the apartment complex. The store’s employees initially watched the drama unfold from their loading dock, but the police made them leave.

“I don’t know if it shocks me,” she said of the robbery. “It’s Christmastime. That’s when everyone is hard up for money.”

Some residents of the Cherry Creek Towers condominiums, adjacent to the bank, were ordered to leave their homes during the standoff and were directed to the lobby of an insurance office connected to the retail center until the situation was resolved.

Dr. Lauren Saxe, an ophthalmologist at Ophthalmic Specialists, two doors down from the bank, said an officer wearing camouflage asked for access to the roof of the building about noon. She said afternoon appointments at the office were canceled.

Michelle Mills, an optician with the group, said she wished police had done a better job keeping everyone informed. Instead, the lack of information freaked her out, she said.

“There are all these women working in the stores, some by themselves,” Mills said. “It would be nice if police said, ‘It looks scary but it’s under control.’ No one told us not to be scared.”

Parker Junior High School, 2810 School St., Flossmoor, was on lockdown for a few hours during the standoff, with no one allowed to enter or leave the building, a school official said. Homewood-Flossmoor High School also was on lockdown but was given the “all clear” about 1 p.m.

Williams is next scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 10. No date was announced for Carpenter’s next appearance.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)