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FBI: Bank robbers strike after 6 p.m. Crime: Vulgar tweet didn't come from official Des Plaines police account.

Maybe bank robbers aren't quitting their day jobs.

That's one take-away from a report issued by the FBI's Chicago office this week detailing the facts and figures behind bank robberies in 2017.

The report shows that bank robbers' favorite time to do their business these days is after 6 p.m. Of last year's 160 holdups in the Chicago area and Rockford, 47 of them, or about 29 percent, occurred "after hours."

The percentage was about the same in 2016, when 56 of 193 holdups came after 6 p.m. Both are a huge leap from 2015, when only two heists took place late in the day.

Why the increase? "I don't have a definitive answer to that," FBI Special Agent Garrett Croon told us.

One possible explanation could be the prevalence of bank branches in grocery stores. US Bank branches in Meijer stores and TCF branches in Jewel-Oscos are open until 7 p.m.

weekdays. Both are frequent targets. Stand-alone branches for many banks close at 5 or 6 p.m.

It's not just a Chicago-area thing, either. Nationally, 3.5 percent of holdups occurred after 6 p.m. in 2014, and just 2.7 percent in 2015. But in 2016, that figure jumped to 10.7 percent.

Banker's hours

So when's the best time to do your banking if you're looking to avoid a holdup? According to the FBI stats, Saturdays and Sundays are the least popular days for stickups, accounting for just 18 of the 160 last year. If you must bank during the week, Monday is best, with 22 holdups.

The worst days? Fridays and Tuesdays, which saw 34 and 31 robberies, respectively.

As for time of day, bank robbers (like many of us) like to sleep in and take a break after lunch. The fewest took place between 1 and 3 p.m. (11) and 6 and 9 a.m. (15) in 2017.

The good news is even if you're caught in a bank being robbed, chances are you won't know it. Of the 160 stickups last year, only nine were "takeovers" in which the robbery was announced.

Suburban surge

If you thought bank robbers seemed to be targeting the suburbs more often in 2017, you weren't wrong.

The FBI report shows that even as the number of bank heists in the Chicago region declined -- from 193 in 2016 to 160 last year -- the numbers in the North, West and South suburbs grew. In fact, after accounting for less than half of all holdups in 2016, last year's 97 suburban heists made up 61 percent of the total.

What's happening?

Croon points to a spate of robberies in June and July, where it seemed like a suburban bank was being held up every three days. There were also serial robbers, including one man suspected of holding up eight West and Northwest suburban banks from January through September.

Croon said bank robbers typically do not stop until they're caught. Each success encourages them not only to continue but to seek bigger and bigger scores, in robberies that may become more violent, he said.

Robbing banks in the suburbs has its advantages, Croon notes. Robbers out here can make a quick getaway in a car, while their urban cohorts are often on foot or at the mercy of public transportation.

And while we might be amused by the disguises robbers wear, or question the smarts of those who don't wear one at all, Croon stresses bank robbery is no laughing matter. Especially to the tellers who have sobbed on his shoulders, too distraught to even drive home.

"It is important to know that there is a human element behind every bank robbery. People should not have to go to work and have their lives threatened," he said.

Tweetstorm

Des Plaines Police Chief William Kushner couldn't have been too happy to see a Twitter account branded with his department's name send out an expletive in response to a recent newspaper editorial critical of the force.

On Thursday, Kushner told Daily Herald Staff Writer Christopher Placek the account is not affiliated with the department. In fact, he said, the department has no social media presence.

"We're making efforts to contact Twitter to let them know it's not the Des Plaines Police Department's Twitter account and we're taking efforts and steps to ascertain the identity of who owns the Twitter account," Kushner told Placek.

By Thursday afternoon, the Twitter account in question had been suspended.

Nice save

Vernon Hills officials honored three police officers this week for saving the life of a woman suffering a potentially deadly heroin overdose Nov. 8.

Officers Art Fink, Haley Lemmer and Ryan Yaeger were called to a home that day and found the woman unconscious on the floor. After learning she was a recovering heroin addict, the officers administered multiple doses of the anti-opiate naloxone and gave her chest compressions until she was revived.

All three officers received lifesaving awards at this week's village board meeting.

"Your swift response and decisive actions played a vital role in saving this patient's life and you are to be commended for your lifesaving efforts," Chief Patrick L. Kreis wrote in commendations to the officers.

Special invite

Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim will be U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's guest next week at President Donald's Trump's State of the Union address, the congressman announced Thursday.

Schneider said he chose Nerheim for his work to tackle the opioid epidemic that's claimed nearly 100 lives in Lake County in the last two years.

"Mike has been a leader in Lake County, promoting drug treatment solutions and bringing together law enforcement, medical professionals, community leaders, and elected officials to address the crisis," Schneider said in his announcement. "I'm honored Mike is joining me for the State of the Union address and hope Congress can learn from Lake County's bipartisan example as we seek solutions to reduce opioid addiction."

As state's attorney, Nerheim convened the first "Call to Action" meeting of the Lake County Opioid Initiative, which brings together law enforcement, first responders, treatment providers and others to seek solutions.

Nerheim said he's grateful for the invitation and proud of the efforts to combat opioid addiction.

"This problem effects every community in Lake County, and beyond, and as such requires that we all work together to effectively address it," he said.

* Got a tip? Send an email to copsandcrime@dailyherald.com or call (847) 427-4483.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jan 26, 2018
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