The man charged with robbing five Northwest suburban banks in April is a husband and the father of two small children, was a 12-sport athlete in high school and has no prior criminal record, according to police.
But James W. Fedij, of the 4400 block of Shorewood Drive in Hoffman Estates, also lost his job at a computer tech company in Rolling Meadows April 30. As well, FBI agents and police found evidence of cocaine use inside his home.
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When he was arrested Saturday morning, Fedij, his wife and their children were getting ready to leave for Wisconsin to visit her parents, said Arlington Heights Cmdr. Ken Galinski. Arlington Heights police got the tip, and were involved in Saturday's arrest.
The FBI has refused comment about the case since the arrest, but Galinski said Fedij knew ahead of time he was losing his job.
"His last day was April 30, but he knew it was coming," he said.
Fedij is accused of the April 5 robbery of TCF Bank at 950 N. Meacham Road in Schaumburg; the April 12 robbery at Harris Bank, 1680 W. Algonquin Road in Hoffman Estates; the April 16 robbery of Harris Bank at 10 Huntington Lane, Wheeling; the April 21 robbery at Harris Bank at 1 S. Arlington Heights Road in Elk Grove Village; and the April 28 robbery from Village Bank and Trust, 311 S. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights.
Altogether he netted about $15,000, according to the FBI.
At each robbery, Fedij passed notes to bank tellers telling them he had a weapon and wanted bills no larger than $10. He got away with between $1,029 and $6,734 each time and made virtually no effort to disguise himself.
He often robbed the banks wearing the clothes he wore to work and his best disguise was a pair of sunglasses, Galinski said.
Fedij's wife, who works in an orthodontist's office part time, knew nothing about Fedij's bank robberies, Galinski said.
Fedij was formally charged in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason in Chicago and was ordered held without bond, pending his next court appearance.
He faces a possible sentence of 100 years in prison if he is convicted of all the charges.
Fedij had no criminal record before Saturday, police said, but they found drug paraphernalia related to cocaine in his home, Galinski added.
Fedij grew up in Wheeling and graduated from Buffalo Grove High School in 1998, where he was a star wrestler.
At Buffalo Grove, Fedij earned a 12-sport athlete award and four-year outstanding band performance award his senior year. He also was a member of the varsity football and track teams and was a Bison Challenge group leader.
He was awarded a $1,000 grant from Valparaiso University's College of Engineering.
Fedij's children are ages 2 and 3, Galinski said.