UPDATED: Alleged robber of two Champaign banks arrested
CHAMPAIGN — A global positioning device in cash that a robber took from a Champaign bank Wednesday afternoon led to his quick arrest.
Champaign police Lt. Robert Rea said the man, identified as Maurion Atkins, 41, of Decatur, is believed responsible for two afternoon bank robberies in that city.
About 1:20 p.m., a man entered Prospect Bank, at 1601 S. Prospect Ave., told employees he had a gun and demanded cash. No gun was seen and the man left the bank without any money.
As police were investigating that attempted robbery and checking with other banks in the area, a second holdup was reported at Central Illinois Bank, 302 W. Springfield Ave., C, at 3:42 p.m.
“He came in the bank, implied he had a weapon, made some threats, demanded money, got an undetermined amount of cash and left the bank,” Rea said.
Rea said the teller handed the money to the robber after he threatened the employee and implied that he had a gun.
At the time of the robbery, one customer and five employees were inside the bank.
None of them was reported injured, Rea said.
Within moments, the GPS in the purloined cash was sending a signal that police could follow.
Rea said Sgt. Tom Frost was able to figure out which vehicle the alleged robber was in and got it stopped as he headed east on Windsor Road at Neil Street.
“It looks like it’s the same suspect from the earlier robbery. We also found clothing in the vehicle to lead us to believe it’s the same guy,” Rea said.
Rea said Atkins was alone in the vehicle when Frost stopped it at 3:50 p.m. The vehicle was towed to the Champaign Police Department to be combed for evidence.
Police also recovered money that was traced back to the bank.
“Champaign detectives are currently conducting an investigation and believe the robbery may be related to the Prospect Bank robbery, which occurred earlier” Wednesday, Rea said.
Rea said police examined video at the Busey Bank branch on Kirby Avenue just west of Prospect Bank and learned that Atkins had been in there earlier in the day.
“We suspect he was in more than one bank and credit union in the last few days. He was definitely scoping these banks out before he was hitting them,” Rea said.
Police continue to investigate whether Atkins was working with someone else.
Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign police at 217-351-4545 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477. Anonymous tips may also be left online at 373tips.com or by texting Tips397 plus the information to 274637.
— NewsTalk 1400 WDWS (@wdws1400) May 7, 2014