Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer Stops Would-Be Bank Robber with Odd Note

April 26, 2024
"This is ur chance to help fight back the Gov with all the money they stole from us first!" stated a strange note from a man accused of trying to rob a Chicago bank.

CHICAGO — When it comes to writing a demand note, bank robbers tend to follow a certain unspoken etiquette of brevity and clarity.

But that’s not what happened in downtown Chicago earlier this week, when federal prosecutors say a man walked into the Chase Bank building at 10 S. Dearborn St. and handed a note to a teller that may have set records for length and variety of literary themes.

“Give me as much money possible!!” read the note on lined paper in a neat, looping script that used bubbles to dot the “I’s.” “No more then $2000.”

It was a simple enough beginning. But that’s when things took a really strange turn.

Instead of a quick threat, the note writer made an earnest appeal to the teller’s assumed sense of social justice, proclaiming, “This is ur chance to help fight back the Gov with all the money they stole from us first!”

The idealism didn’t last long. In fact, the next several sentences of the note contained a litany of graphic threats that reached a level of specificity rarely seen in a demand note.

“I do not have a gun but I do have a knife which is way more painful!!!” the note read. “If u alert the police and I go to jail for this I will have my outside contacts track you down! If not u then your family!!”

The note closed with an order that the robber probably would have been better off leading with: “Now start giving me dat sh–!”

The teller told investigators that the robber had initially approached the counter at about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday asking about opening a new account. He then passed her the note and asked, “if this will suffice as an ID,” according to a criminal complaint made public Wednesday.

The teller said she stopped reading the note after the first line, telling the robber she’d need to press two buttons to open her drawer. By pressing the two buttons — which tellers are trained to do in the event of a robbery — the drawer automatically dispensed exactly $500, the complaint stated.

The robber grabbed the cash and left the note on the counter. An off-duty Chicago police officer working as a security guard in the lobby of the Chase Bank building spotted the suspect running out of the high-rise and then east on Madison Street, where he ducked into a 57-story office tower at 70 W. Madison St., according to the complaint.

The robber jumped a turnstile in the lobby and ran up an escalator, but the security guard caught up to him while he was waiting at an elevator bank, the complaint stated.

The alleged robber, Kendall Jones, 18, of Chicago, was charged with one count of bank robbery. Prosecutors have asked that he be held in custody pending trial, and a detention hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Jones’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the complaint stated Jones still had the $500 on him at the time of his arrest, as well as three other handwritten demand notes with nearly identical language and loopy script as the one left at the Chase branch.

One of the notes found on Jones had a slightly more optimistic ending, however, instructing the recipient to “at least wait 2 hrs b4 contacting police.”

“They won’t catch me!” it said.

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©2024 Chicago Tribune.

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