HAMMOND — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged two men with robbing three Lake County banks in the last five weeks.
Anthony Day and Omarr Williams, who police arrested Tuesday, are named in federal armed robbery charges alleging they took a total of $24,886 between a Sept. 5 hold up at a Gary financial institution and Tuesday’s capture.
Hammond and Lake County police used an electronic tracking device to follow the pair after a Tuesday hold up. The chase ended near Gary’s Brunswick neighborhood with their arrest.
Both men appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar for initial hearings.
Kolar ordered them held without bond until a hearing Friday when a federal prosecutor will ask the court to keep them in federal custody until their trials, which are yet to be scheduled.
The two men face decades of imprisonment if convicted.
Andrew Chonowski, a special FBI agent assigned to the Gang Response and Investigative Team (GRIT), alleges in criminal complaints filed in U.S. District court that the two first robbed the U.S. Federal Credit Union at 1 N. Buchanan St. in Gary.
Court papers state two men dressed as construction workers walked into the financial institution at 10:23 a.m. Sept. 23.
One man, who the government alleges was Williams, covered his face with a surgical/dust mask and wore sunglasses.
He is accused of telling a bank employee, “Don’t yell. This is a robbery” and lifting his shirt to display a black handgun in the waistband of his pants.
The second man, who the government alleges was Day, left his face uncovered. A teller said he spoke in a low voice about money and tugged at his shirt — a gesture the teller interpreted as Day meaning he too was armed.
Tellers saw the two men flee in a silver KIA minivan.
The government alleges Day and Williams next robbed the Horizon Bank at 1345 Calumet Ave. in Hammond at 1:23 p.m. Sept. 23.
Williams is accused of wearing a tan Halloween mask over his face, a light blue hoodie and a black hat with “Security” written across it, white sunglasses and black pants.
When a teller informed Williams he couldn’t wear a mask in the bank, Williams responded, “I kept the mask on because this is a (expletive) robbery” and then pulled a black 9mm handgun from his waistband and pointed it at a teller, records allege.
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The government alleges Day took a silver revolver out of his waistband as well and ordered employees to put cash in a bag he was carrying.
The two men repeatedly tried to enter the bank vault but couldn’t. Tellers informed the robbers that a police alarm would go off if it was opened then.
The two men fled with the stolen money on bicycles.
The government goes on to allege that Day and Williams entered the First Financial Bank at 2705 169th St. in Hammond at 9:12 a.m. Tuesday and took money at gunpoint.
The men threatened to shoot the tellers if they activated any alarms and ordered all tellers and customers on the ground as the two fled in a black KIA minivan.
Hammond police officers were called to a robbery in progress at the bank. Lake County police also joined the chase.
Officers used a global positioning device to track the men to a wooded area in the 500 block of Burr Street. Police said they found Day near the parked getaway car and he surrendered.
County police officers found the second suspect about six blocks away in the 400 block of Durbin Street and captured him in possession of a black handgun and $1,597 in cash.
The FBI said the second suspect refused to identify himself or submit to fingerprinting, but investigators later identified him as Williams.
The FBI said the getaway car had been spray painted black over a blue coat of spray paint, which had been sprayed over the original gray color, which could still be seen around other parts of the car.
Investigators searching the area also found a baseball cap, a dreadlock wig and blue windbreaker Williams was allegedly seen wearing during the bank robbery earlier that morning.
They also found a silver revolver, a loaded compact automatic rifle and gloves and clothing seen on the robbers, as well as a bag the robbers were seen carrying that contained $3,146 cash.