HAMMOND | A man suspected in two Indiana bank robberies will take his chances with a jury trial.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Rudy Lozano set a Nov. 4 trial date for Beaver Bernard Russell, 47, of Benton Harbor, Mich. Russell allegedly robbed Fifth Third Bank, 8007 Calumet Ave., Munster, on Jan. 12, 2012, and is also charged in the robbery of a Mutual Bank branch in South Bend.
Russell has pleaded not guilty to the charges, court records stated.
At the time of his arrest for the alleged bank robberies, Russell was suspected in a string of purse-snatchings between Dec. 18, 2011, and Jan. 3, 2012, in Northwest Indiana, allegedly occurring at Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Cabella’s sporting goods in Hammond, Walmart in Michigan City and Westfield Southlake mall in Hobart. Court records show no charges in those cases.
Prior reports stated Russell allegedly admitted his involvement in seven bank robberies in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Kentucky, in addition to five alleged purse-snatchings.
Russell is currently being held at the Boone County, Ky., on state charges related to two bank robberies.